Monday, August 11, 2014

Sunshine-Act Verification System on Hold

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is temporarily suspending access to its new 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. The reporting system was established through the Physician Payments Sunshine Act as required by the Affordable Care Act.

The suspension was announced after problems with the system were reported to ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit news organization specializing on investigative, public-interest journalism. Louisville, Ky., physician David E. Mann said that when he logged in to verify the accuracy of the records on him, he found that payments to a Florida physician with the same name were included in his record, indicating that he was the one on the receiving end of the payments. Mann, who shared a screen shot of his Open Payments record with ProPublica, provided information indicating that it was Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson and Johnson subsidiary, that mixed up the information on the two David E. Manns.

"After an assessment of the data resulting from a complaint," said CMS in a statement, "we discovered that a limited number of physician payment records submitted by at least one manufacturer incorrectly contained information about other physicians. CMS takes physician privacy very seriously, and we have taken the system offline temporarily and will work with the industry to eliminate incorrect payment records."

Registration to access the payment-verification site has been suspended while CMS is investigating the database problems. 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: Juergen Faelchle/shutterstock)


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