CMS added about 68,000 payment records to the Sunshine Act and Affordable Care Act’s Open Payments database on Friday (Dec. 19).
The Open Payments database details financial relationships among certain providers and drug and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations.The additional records include updates to payments that were disputed by doctors and teaching hospitals at the end of the review period (Sept. 11) so there wasn’t enough time for drug and device manufacturers and Group Purchasing Organizations to review and correct them before the Open Payment database was published at the end of September. CMS says the added payments are worth more than $200 million.
The sunshine and health reform laws require drug and device manufacturers and GPOs to report payments to teaching hospitals and physicians. If providers disagree with reported payments, providers must work with the manufacturers or GPOs outside of the Open Payments system to resolve the dispute. CMS originally said unresolved disputes would be still be published but marked as under dispute when the database was released. That did not sit well with either providers or drug and device makers so the agency later decided to put the disputed payments on “pathway to publication,” rather than make those records public.
The agency said records under dispute would be made public once doctors and teaching hospitals had a chance to re-review them and dispute them again.
CMS says other records added to the system on Friday include those attested to on the last day of the data submission period for 2013 (July 7). Those records were “inadvertently excluded from publication,” CMS says, although they were included in the 45-day review and dispute process.
Last summer, providers noticed that the database incorrectly attributed payments to some providers with similar names. CMS responded by de-identifying 40 percent of provider payments. By the end of June, CMS plans to link those payments to providers that received them.
CMS also said Friday that the Open Payments system will be unavailable for much of January while the agency upgrades the system. During that time, the databases will still be available and physicians and teaching hospitals will still be able to register through the separate portal system, but some aspects of registration, data submission and review and dispute functions will not be accessible.–Michelle M. Stein (firstname.lastname@example.org)