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Second Year of Physician Payments Sunshine Act Begins

The second year of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, also known as Open Payments, has begun, covering transactions in 2014. Part of the Affordable Care Act, the law aims to increase transparency between health care manufacturers and consumers. It requires all manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and biologics to submit reports of payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals.

The review and dispute period began on April 6, and physicians have a 45-day period to review the reported data and dispute any incorrect information before the data are made public in a searchable database on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website on June 30. The review and dispute period will end on or about May 20.

Companies are required to identify up to five principal investigators on research projects they sponsored, even though payments are not made to individual physicians. CMS uses its own criteria to define principal investigators, so co-investigators may also be identified.

All physicians are strongly encouraged to register on the CMS website to review, and if necessary, dispute inaccurate payment information during the 45-day review and dispute period. Physicians can register to view their payment data on the CMS Open Payments website. Data reported by companies for the second year of implementation will cover all 12 months of 2014, whereas the first year of implementation covered only five months. This may result in an increase in the amount of data that needs to be reviewed.

Information about the review and dispute process is available here.

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