Doctors are concerned that they will not be able to flag as “disputed” public reports generated by the federal government's Open Payment Program, which was initiated by the Sunshine Act provision of the Affordable Care Act.
The CMS received 38 comments from organizations seeking clarification on how or if reports will be marked if doctors disagree with information on the size of “transfers of value” group purchasing and drug and device manufacturers said they made to doctors. GPOs and manufacturers are required to reports transfers of $10 or more.
“The AAMC is deeply concerned that these draft notifications suggest that applicable manufacturers or applicable GPOs may simply dismiss an initiated dispute without resolution or the express agreement by a covered recipient,” Ann Bonham, chief scientific officer of the American Association of Medical Colleges (PDF), wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
Physicians are not required to submit anything to the CMS. The reporting burden falls entirely on the GPOs and manufacturers, but the American Medical Association and the California Medical Association expressed concern that inaccurate reports could lead to “economic and reputational harm” for doctors.
“A number of CMS officials have suggested that physicians are not subject to any penalties under the Open Payments Program and, thus, should not be concerned about inaccurate reports,” wrote Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association (PDF), in a letter to Tavenner. “Congress did not intend that the agency would simply rubber stamp and publish reports submitted by manufactures/GPOs that may or may not be accurate, and that could be, in fact, defamatory. Physicians are uniquely positioned to be highly motivated to ensure that their report is accurate since inaccurate reporting may result in loss of employment, disciplinary action, reputational harm, loss of associations and affiliations, other financial sanction, and even civil and criminal liability.”
The American Medical Association House of Delegates voted to lobby Congress to raise the threshold for reporting transfers of value from $10 to $100.