CMS Open Payments database: Exclusions mount

More data is expected to be withheld when the Open Payments database, meant to disclose potential conflicts of interest among doctors, launches to the public, ProPublica reports.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, the report says another batch of payments will be withheld: research grants made by pharmaceutical companies to doctors through intermediaries, such as contract research organizations. Law requires doctors be given the opportunity to review and dispute the reported payments.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not respond to the publication's request for comment or say how many records might be involved.

A couple of weeks ago, however, CMS confirmed that about a third of data will not be published when the site goes live, but will be sent back to reporting pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers to clear up inconsistencies.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has asked CMS for more information about why the data is being sent back, Bloomberg BNA reports.

CMS took the database offline for nearly two weeks after a Kentucky doctor reported being listed as receiving payments from a drug maker, when those payments actually were going to a doctor by the same name in Florida. The agency announced that doctors would have until Sept. 8, rather than Aug. 27, to contest the information reported about them.

It since has extended that deadline to Sept. 10, due to plans to take the system down for maintenance, according to Helio. The first outage will be tomorrow from 1 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST. The second will be Sept. 5 with hours to be announced.

CMS has reaffirmed its commitment to the planned public go-live date of Sept. 30.

The planned database, mandated under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, continues to draw criticism.

"It is clear that the government's website is not ready for prime time," Robert M. Wah, M.D., president of the American Medical Association (AMA) says in a announcement, adding that the latest planned downtime is creating confusion and frustration among physicians.

To learn more:
- read the ProPublica story
- here's the Helio article
- check out the Bloomberg BNA piece
- here's the AMA announcement