CMS has missed its own deadline to issue a final rule on the implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, Modern Physician reports (Lee, Modern Physician, 1/3).
About the Sunshine Act
The federal health reform law's Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires drugmakers and medical device manufacturers to disclose all consulting fees, travel reimbursements, research grants and other gifts with values over $10 that they give to physicians and teaching hospitals.
In December 2011, CMS released a proposed rule outlining procedures for medical industry companies to report such payments. 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, 9/13/12).
Delay in Releasing Rule
The Sunshine Act called for CMS to release draft regulations in October 2011 so data collection could begin in January 2012 and the data could be made public in 2013. However, CMS repeatedly has delayed the release of the regulations.
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.
The delay means that data collection likely will not begin until late this year and that the information will not be publicly available until 2014.
In an emailed statement, a CMS spokesperson said, "Given the importance of this rule, we are working to issue this as quickly as possible" (Modern Physician, 1/3).