The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has for the second time in recent weeks suspended access to its database that keeps track of payments physicians receive from the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. The database, called Open Payments, allows physicians who have registered with CMS to verify the accuracy of the information that these industries have reported. As a result of the suspension, the new deadline for physicians to review and dispute data has been extended to September 10. The Open Payments database is still scheduled to go live to the public on September 30.
The reporting system was established through the Physician Payments Sunshine Act as required by the Affordable Care Act.
CMS had suspended access early this month after ProPublica published an account of a data mix up in which information from a Florida physician ended up in the account of an Kentucky physician with the same name. At the time, CMS said it was taking the system offline to correct the data problem and would "work with the industry to eliminate incorrect payment records."
Early this month, the AMA sent a detailed letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, co-signed by APA and dozens of other medical organizations, urging the agency to implement a delay in having the system go public until March 31, 2015, citing several concerns including technical problems, the cumbersome registration process, and the appeals process. Psychiatric News will alert APA members when access to the database has been restored.
Read about the terms and requirements of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act in Psychiatric News.
(image: Juegen Faechle/shutterstock)