A massive alliance of medical societies urged Medicare regulators this week to keep physician pay data from the public for an extra 6 months, time that doctors can use to peruse their profiles for inaccuracies about their financial relationships with medical device and drug companies.
The proposal would keep physician financial data under wraps until March 31, 2015, rather than Sept. 30, 2014, as planned.
"There are widespread concerns that the implementation of this new system for data collection … will not be ready and will likely lead to the release of inaccurate, misleading and false information," according to a letter that physicians’ groups sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "The agency has not provided effective notification to the vast majority of physicians nor provided a reasonable amount of time … to engage and educate physicians on the registration and dispute process."
Under Sunshine Act rules physicians have time prior to the publication of financial data to look over reports and dispute any entries they believe to be inaccurate. The window to file rebuttals closes August 27, but the medical groups argued that physicians need more time to navigate the "overly complex" registration process.
"CMS repeatedly missed its own deadlines, resulting in delays to the date when physicians could begin registering to access the reported data and a truncated period in which they could review and dispute their data," according to the American Medical Assn.’s statement. "Under the current timeline, physicians were given a total of 45 days to review and dispute data."