Senators Urge CMS To Issue Rule on Doctor Payment Disclosure

Last week, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) sent a letter to acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner calling for CMS to issue the final rule on the implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act by June, MassDevice reports (Perriello, MassDevice, 4/6).


In December 2011, CMS released a proposed rule outlining procedures for drugmakers and device makers to report payments to physicians and teaching hospitals, as required by the federal health reform law's Physician Payment Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires medical industry companies to disclose all consulting fees, travel reimbursements, research grants and other gifts with values over $10 that they give to physicians and teaching hospitals.

CMS' proposed rule also would require manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to disclose information about physician ownership and investment interests.

Under the proposal, companies would face a $150,000 fine for failing to report such gifts or a $1 million fine for knowingly not reporting such gifts.

CMS said it would post the payment information on an easily searchable public website. Drug companies, device makers, health care providers and other entities affected by the new requirements would have the ability to review data and correct inaccurate information before it is posted to the website (iHealthBeat, 1/17).

Details of the Letter

In their letter to Tavenner, Grassley and Kohl outlined specific steps designed to guide CMS' implementation of the Sunshine Act (Byers, CMIO, 4/6).

The senators said they are disappointed that CMS did not meet the October 2011 deadline for implementing the law and called for the agency to release a final rule on implementation by June "so that partial data collection for 2012 can commence" (MassDevice, 4/6).

Grassley and Kohl also asked whether CMS:

  • Can commit to completing a final rule by this summer;
  • Has increased the resources or personnel assigned to implementing the Sunshine Act; and
  • Has set aside specific funds for the implementation of the Sunshine Act.

The senators asked Tavenner to respond to their letter by April 18 (CMIO, 4/6).

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