December 15, 2011
CMS Takes Positive First Step In Implementing New “Sunshine” Requirements For Industry Payments To Physicians And Teaching Hospitals
Statement by Marcia Hams, Director of Prescription Access & Quality, regarding the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ draft rule on the “sunshine” provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
(BOSTON) - "After missing an October deadline, CMS stepped up to the plate yesterday with its draft rule on the "sunshine" provision of the Affordable Care Act (section 6002) that will require public disclosure of funds and other perks provided by industry to medical professionals. Community Catalyst worked for many years along with other national and state organizations to pass the law, which will help patients and the public assess whether providers are putting the interests of their patients first when prescribing drugs, implants such as hips and stents, and other treatments.
"We appreciated CMS' strong statement in the draft rule that while industry collaboration can be beneficial, ‘payments to physicians and teaching hospitals can also introduce conflicts of interest that may influence research, education and clinical decision making in ways that compromise clinical integrity and patient care, and may lead to increased health care costs.'
"Under the law, the information collected by CMS from industry will be reported in a public database by September, 2013, and we are pleased that CMS has not suggested any delay in that disclosure. The database will include the name of the doctor or teaching hospital, the amount of each payment as well as its purpose by manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and biologics. Among the many positive recommendations, we are pleased that CMS proposed very inclusive definitions of manufacturers, their subsidiaries, and third parties who may make payments on their behalf.
"CMS also asserted that the categories of payments be distinct from one another to ensure the utility of the information to patients, to researchers and the public. However, we do have concerns that the draft rule does not provide mandatory, clear definitions of the categories (such as education, gifts, consulting, etc.), which could open the door to varying interpretations by each company. This would make the data inconsistent and confusing, and we will be submitting our recommendations to address this problem.
"Overall, the CMS framework is solid and reflects the spirit and intent of the law, which was supported not only by consumers but by leaders in the medical profession, the Institute of Medicine and many in industry."
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone - especially vulnerable members of society. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Read or comment on our blogs at http://blog.communitycatalyst.org/ and http://postscript.communitycatalyst.org/. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.