Providers still waiting on Sunshine Act implementation

Provider groups are still waiting on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to issue a fine rule on the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a rule mandated by health reform that was supposed to be finalized by October 2011, MedPage Today reported.

Now 15 months past the deadline, physicians groups are pushing the Obama administration to fully implement the act aimed at transparency.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Sunshine rule requires financial disclosures between hospitals and physicians with drug and medical device manufacturers.

"Such conflicts pose a grave threat to the intent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is to deliver quality and affordable care to all Americans. Transparency about industry payments is an important step toward restoring trust and integrity in medicine," the American Medical Student Association and the National Physicians Alliance wrote in a letter to the White House last week.

CMS plans to post the information on gifts, meals, funding, royalties and other contributions online. However, multiple delays have not only pushed back data collection but also the final regulations.

The manufacturers were supposed to collect data in January 2012 and report the spending data to CMS by March 2013. CMS pushed back the data collection, MedPage Today reported.

Senators have accused CMS of dragging its feet past the statutory deadline. Although CMS in March said it would release a final rule before the year's end, it missed its own deadline.

CMS sent a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget in November. OMB has 30 days to review, and then CMS would have another 90 days to issue the rule, MedCity News reported.

For more information:
- see the MedPage Today article
- here's the MedCity News article

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