Healthcare organizations need to be ready for Sept. 30, the date when the CMS will post data on drug and medical device manufacturer payments to physicians and teaching hospitals, speakers at the American Medical Group Association annual meeting warned.
The posting of these data is called for by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which was incorporated into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“You can be sure the media has a significant interest,” said John Randolph, vice president and chief compliance officer for the UMass Memorial Health Care system. “You need to be aware of relationships your faculty are getting into.”
It's possible that officials at some teaching hospitals will become aware of some of their physicians' industry relationships only after being asked about them by reporters, Randolph cautioned.
“It's not comfortable, and it's happened to us,” Randolph said. He recommended that someone within an organization be given responsibility for payment data that appear in the CMS and state databases. Someone should also be assigned to speak with the media once this information is posted.
Randolph gave the teaching hospital perspective at the AMGA program, while Terra Shewchuk, vice president of ethics and compliance at devicemaker Medtronic Spinal, gave the manufacturers' views.
“I'm the industry rep, so I have a bull's-eye on me,” Shewchuk said, adding that she was looking forward to richer transparency requirements because they will expose the bad behavior of bottom-feeder companies.
Companies will be required to report “transfers of value,” including meals, payments, books and other items, awarded to physicians and teaching hospitals. Shewchuck advised attendees that there will be errors on both sides—if only because of the sheer volume of reports.
The CMS began collecting company information last August. Between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, her company submitted data on 100,000 transactions, Shewchuk said to illustrate the volume of information being collected.
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