CMS Updates Open Payments Data
December 19, 2014—The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the addition of approximately 68,000 payment records—valued at more than $200 million—to the Open Payments data set. With these new data, Open Payments now reports information on $3.7 billion in payments and transfers of value to up to 546,000 individual physicians and up to 1,360 teaching hospitals. As with the 2013 data, which were initially published on September 30, 2014, this refresh of data includes a partial data collection period of 5 months (August 1 through December 31, 2013), advised CMS.
CMS stated that every year, the agency will update the Open Payments data at least once after its initial publication. The refreshed data will include updates on disputes and other corrections made since the initial publication that documented payments or transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as physician ownership and investment interests. CMS stated that these financial data were submitted by applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and that the accuracy of all data included in this update has been attested to by the submitting applicable manufacturer or GPO.
Before publication of the data on September 30, 2014, physicians and teaching hospitals were given the opportunity to register with the Open Payments system to review and dispute data submitted about them by applicable manufacturers and GPOs.
Approximately 9,000 records were disputed by physicians and teaching hospitals during the review period held earlier this year. These disputed payment records were temporarily withheld from the Open Payments website. Now, this data refresh has made those records part of the Open Payments dataset.
According to CMS, the approximate 68,000 payment records added on December 19 to the Open Payments dataset were not published in the initial release on September 30 for one of the following reasons: the record was still under dispute at the end of the physician and teaching hospital review period (September 11, 2014), or records attested to on the last day of the data submission period for the 2013 program year (July 7, 2014) were inadvertently excluded from publication; however, these were still included in the full 45-day review and dispute process.
The data are publicly displayed in the following manner: disputes that remained unresolved by October 31, 2014, are marked as “disputed,” and disputes that were resolved by October 31, 2014, are published with no dispute noted.
Because all data must be available for a 45-day physician and teaching hospital review period before publication, certain records will not be posted in the December updated data, but they will be available for review in early 2015 (by March 31) and then posted by June 30, 2015. These documents include any records resolved by a change to the identifying information of the reported physician or teaching hospital, any records submitted to the Open Payments system for the first time at the end of the submission window for the 2013 program year (July 7, 2014), and any modifications to records currently on display made after October 31, 2014.
The refreshed data do not include the identification of any of the records published with de-identified physician or teaching hospital information on September 30; however, the updated data will include some new de-identified data. CMS will publish the full calendar year of 2014 financial data by June 30, 2015, which will also include the missing identification of the de-identified data from 2013.
Finally, CMS noted that because of ongoing actions taken by applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs, such as deletions, additions, and corrections within the Open Payments system, the data shared here are subject to change. Information shared is reflective of Open Payments data as of December 19, 2014.
Endovascular Today’s Physician Counsel column, authored by Steven K. Ladd, Founder and President of Primacea, Inc., and Steven J. Cagnetta, Founder and Chief Counsel at Primacea, addresses topics such as Open Payments and transparency in physician-industry collaborations.
In October, they explained some of the shortcomings of the system, including accessing the information and the ability to explain the context surrounding certain payments.
In an upcoming article in Endovascular Today titled, “Open Payments Errors Put Physicians in Bad Light,” Mr. Ladd and Mr. Cagnetta provide commentary on the increasing user-friendliness of the Open Payments website, as well as the diligence needed on the part of physicians in order to prepare themselves for media and public scrutiny.
For ongoing coverage of the Open Payments system, please see our Physician Counsel series.