CMS Issues Final Financial Disclosure Rule Intended to Increase Transparency in Health Care

 

February 1, 2013—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the issuance of a final rule intended to increase public awareness of financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers and certain health care providers. The rule is called the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments” and is one of the steps in the Affordable Care Act designed to create greater transparency in the healthcare market. The final rule can be downloaded from the Federal Register.

In the announcement, CMS deputy administrator for program integrity Peter Budetti, MD, commented, “You should know when your doctor has a financial relationship with the companies that manufacture or supply the medicines or medical devices you may need. Disclosure of these relationships allows patients to have more informed discussions with their doctors.”

According to the CMS press release, this rule finalizes the provisions that require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program to report to CMS payments or other transfers of value they make to physicians and teaching hospitals. CMS will post that data to a public website. The final rule also requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to disclose physician ownership or investment interests to CMS.

CMS stated that this increased transparency is intended to help reduce the potential for conflicts of interest that physicians or teaching hospitals could face as a result of their relationships with manufacturers. This new reporting will apply to applicable manufacturers and GPOs. These organizations, as well as the physicians and teaching hospitals, will have an opportunity to review and correct reported information before its publication.

Data collection will begin on August 1, 2013 to give applicable manufacturers and GPOs sufficient time to prepare for the new requirement. These manufacturers and GPOs will report the data for August through December of 2013 to CMS by March 31, 2014, and CMS will release the data on a public website by September 30, 2014. CMS is developing an electronic system to facilitate the reporting process, the agency noted.

 

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