On June 29, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published detailed information regarding payments made by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals during 2014 in its Open Payments database. The development of this database was mandated by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (the “Sunshine Act”), the purpose of which is to create transparency about financial relationships between these parties.
This Open Payments database for 2014 includes information regarding 11.4 million financial transactions attributed to over 600,000 physicians and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals, totaling approximately $6.49 billion.
For all 2014 and 2013 data, CMS was able to validate that 98.8 percent of all records submitted for use in the Open Payments database contained accurate identifying information about the physician(s) and teaching hospitals involved in the transaction(s), referred to as “covered recipients” under the Sunshine Act. Records that could not be verified to align to an individual covered recipient were rejected and were not processed by the system. CMS will continue to update the Open Payments website annually with data collected from the previous year.
The Open Payments program requires drug and device manufacturers to report payments and other transfers of value (e.g., consulting fees, honoraria, research grants, etc.) to health care providers, as well as other industry-related investments providers may have. The program relies on voluntary participation by physicians and teaching hospitals to review and confirm the accuracy of the information submitted by these companies.
Physicians and teaching hospitals should review their information posted in the Open Payments database on an annual basis. Similarly, pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical device companies must continue to submit data to CMS related to payments to physicians and teaching hospitals for annual publication.