Senator Calls for Final Rule on Physician Payment Disclosure

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On Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter urging the Obama administration to issue a final rule on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which was established under the Affordable Care Act, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/22).

About the Sunshine Act

In December 2011, released a proposed rule outlining procedures for drugmakers and medical device makers to report payments to physicians and teaching hospitals, as required by the 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 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.

Last year, CMS said that it planned to issue a final rule on the Sunshine Act by the end of 2012, but the rule has yet to be released. Earlier this month, several advocacy and physician groups sent letters to the White House urging the administration to finalize the rule (iHealthBeat, 1/17).

Letter From Grassley

In his letter to White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Grassley -- who authored the Sunshine Act with former Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) -- wrote that Congress designed the law so that the payment data would be accessible by Sept. 30, adding that the final regulations are now more than 15 months overdue ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/22).

"At best, the public may miss an entire year's worth of data collection -- maybe more," Grassley wrote, adding, "This is unacceptable" (Modern Physician, 1/23).


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