CMS Fixes Open Payments System and Extends Physician Registration and Review Period


August 15, 2014—The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the Open Payments system is once again available for physicians and teaching hospitals to register, review, and—as needed—dispute financial payment information received from health care manufacturers. The system was taken offline on August 3 to resolve a technical issue. To account for system down time, CMS is extending the time for physicians and teaching hospitals to review their records to September 8, 2014. The public website will be available on September 30, 2014.

Shantanu Agrawal, MD, the CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Program Integrity, commented in the agency’s announcement, “CMS takes data integrity very seriously and took swift action after a physician reported a problem. We have identified the root cause of the problem and have instituted a system fix to prevent similar errors. We strongly encourage physicians to review their records before the deadline and before the data are posted publically to identify any discrepancies.”

CMS advised that a full investigation into a physician complaint found that manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) submitted intermingled data, such as the wrong state license number or national provider identifier, for physicians with the same last and first names. This erroneously linked physician data in the Open Payments system.

According to CMS, system corrections have been implemented to resolve the issue. All data in the system has been revalidated to verify that the physician identifiers used by the applicable manufacturer or GPO are accurate, and that all payment records are attributed to a single physician. Incorrect payment transactions have been removed from the current review and dispute process and this data will not be published.

CMS is committed to ensuring that the data made public from the system are as accurate as possible and extended the time for review and dispute to provide physicians and teaching hospitals with a full 45 days, stated the agency. For more coverage of the Open Payments system, visit our Physician Counsel series.


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