Sunshine Act: Providers should track payments to ensure accuracy

After waiting years for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to issue final regulations on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA), beginning August 1 pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers must track and report all payments or other "transfers of value" to physicians and teaching hospitals.

Under the rule, neither physicians nor practices are required to report any information to CMS. However, experts warn that failure to do so could lead practices to miss inaccurate postings from industry members that could harm their reputations. "If you don't track, you may put your physicians at risk," Johanna Kreisel, associate, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, Washington D.C., told the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). "Take a defensive posture to protect yourself, your practice and your physicians."

In a statement issued on July 30, the American Medical Association (AMA) made similar recommendations. "We strongly urge physicians to make sure all of their financial and conflict of interest disclosures, as well as their information in the national provider identifier (NPI) database, are current and regularly updated," stated AMA President Ardis Hoven, M.D. "We also urge physicians to ask industry representatives with whom they interact to provide an opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct all information they will report before it is submitted to the government," he said.

To help physicians understand what steps they need to take upon implementation of the law, the AMA has issued a Physician Sunshine Act Toolkit, which features a free webinar and answers to frequenty asked questions.CMS has also created mobile apps to help physician and industry users track their financial ties, American Medical News reported.

To learn more:
- see the announcement from the AMA
- read the post from American Medical News
- see the post from the MGMA In Practice blog

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