This also includes reporting about ownership and investment interests that are held by physicians and their immediate family members in manufacturing companies and group purchasing organizations and the payments made to those physicians. Information about these financial relationships will be collected by the CMS and published on a publicly available website in late 2014.
This idea of public transparency is important. Open Payments is designed to create a publicly available resource that achieves a broad goal: creating greater knowledge, accountability and understanding about the financial relationships between manufacturers, GPOs and covered recipient physicians and teaching hospitals. Collaboration among covered recipient physicians or teaching hospitals and industry can—and does—contribute to the development of life-saving drugs and devices. Sometimes, however, payments from manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals can introduce conflicts of interest.
Under the law, manufacturers must disclose the nature and extent of these financial relationships. This will help all of us, including patients and families, the clinical community, the CMS and other stakeholders, to be better informed and will reduce undue influence on research, education and clinical decision-making. This in turn will improve clinical integrity and help promote sound, evidence-based decisions about patient care.
Industry data collection and tracking of its financial relationships with physicians and teaching hospitals began Aug. 1. Industry registration in the Open Payments program and submission of 2013 data to the CMS must be completed by March 31, 2014. In the fall of 2014, the CMS will post the 2013 data on its Open Payments website, which will be accessible to the public. The CMS will post program data annually.
This may all raise some big questions. Are you and your organization ready for this new, broad transparency program? How will the new law work? What will the public, and specifically patients, think of this new information?
Through extensive planning and consideration of these issues, the CMS has simplified the reporting process. Last December, the CMS took into account feedback on the draft rules from nearly 400 interested parties, including medical professionals. The CMS website (go.cms.gov/openpayments) now features fact sheets and other information.