CMS sets timeline for Sunshine Act implementation
The CMS issued the long-delayed final rule for the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, setting out a timeline for implementation that is a year past what the healthcare reform law required. The Sunshine Act aims to increase transparency and reduce the potential for conflicts of interest by gathering data about financial relationships between healthcare providers and manufacturers and making it available to the public. Starting Aug. 1, drug and device companies will be required to collect data about payments, gifts and other transfers of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals. In addition, manufacturers and group purchasing organizations will be responsible for reporting physician ownership and investment interests. The final rule requires manufacturers and GPOs to report the first round of data collection to the CMS by March 31, 2014. The data will then be posted online by Sept. 30, 2014, one year after what the original statute required. The program’s first round of reporting will be limited to five months of data rather than a full year. “This rule allows a longdelayed transparency measure to take effect,” Allan Coukell, director of medical programs at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said in a statement. A CMS spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the timeline was pushed back in order to give manufacturers and GPOs “sufficient time to prepare.” In a statement, Christopher White, general counsel and senior executive vice president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, said the additional time will allow manufacturers to establish compliant business systems.