On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, convened a roundtable discussion entitled “Let the Sunshine In: Implementing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.” The “Sunshine Act” provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires drug, device, biological product, and medical supply manufacturers to report annually certain information regarding payments and other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals. An additional provision requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report all ownership or investment interests held by physicians or members of their family. Further, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is required to establish procedures for making reported information publicly available through an Internet website.
The roundtable discussion was moderated by Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution, and included a wide range of stakeholders. The discussion began with opening statements from Senator Kohl and Senator Charles Grassley, co-authors of the Sunshine Act. In their respective statements, Senators Kohl and Grassley again noted their disappointment in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) delay in finalizing the rule to implement the Sunshine Act. In his statement, Senator Grassley emphasized that the “American people deserve the full disclosure and transparency [the Sunshine Act] promises and industry needs certainty about the specifics of the rules so that compliance can begin.”
During the discussion, Niall Brennan, Director in the Policy and Data Analysis Group at CMS, was questioned regarding CMS’ timeline for implementing the Sunshine Act. Specifically, Senator Richard Blumenthal requested dates as to when data collection, reporting, and posting will occur. Director Brennan indicated that CMS “hopes” to finalize the rule “as soon as possible,” and that it “hopes” to build in an appropriate period of time for manufacturers to get ready to collect data. Director Brennan also noted that CMS “hopes” that some of the data collection will occur in 2013.
To view a webcast of the roundtable discussion, please visit the following link: