On August 1 of this year, requirements of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Open Payments, went into effect. The legislation, passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was designed to create greater transparency around financial relationships between physicians, teaching hospitals, and manufacturers by posting relevant information to a public, searchable website.
Although the first public report of information will not come out until September 30, 2014, it is important that oncologists begin to learn about the legislation now. ASCO is committed to providing ongoing information to help its members prepare for and understand what interactions with manufacturers will appear on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) public website.
Beginning on August 1, manufacturers of covered drugs, biologics and medical devices and supplies began gathering information on payments or other transfers of value that they make to physicians and teaching hospitals. This information, along with information on physicians who hold certain ownership interests, will be submitted to CMS annually and updated on a public website.
In early 2014, it is anticipated that CMS will launch a physician portal that will allow physicians to sign up to receive an alert when information about them has been submitted. Physicians can then review submitted information and contact the manufacturer is there is a dispute in the accuracy of the report. Physicians can also ask any applicable manufacturer for a presubmission review of information to ensure that submitted information is accurate and complete.
Manufacturers must report data from 2013—gathered from August 1 to December 31—to CMS on March 31, 2014. CMS has estimated that physicians will have access to the 2013 reports in June 2014 in order to seek correction or modification of the information.
On September 30, 2014, the first reports will become available to the public.
Effect on ASCO Activities
As this legislation goes into effect, certain interactions with ASCO that are indirect transfers from a manufacturer may be publicly reported on the CMS website, such as the acceptance of grants and awards or attending certain events, ASCO will not report these indirect transfers directly to CMS, but is required to report them to the manufacturer, which is then required to report to CMS. ASCO is committed to communicating with members in advance if any ASCO or Conquer Cancer Foundation activity could result in a report so that members can opt out if they choose.
Most of the typical interactions members have with the Society remain nonreportable. Members can continue to attend the ASCO Annual Meeting or other thematic meetings throughout the year, can continue subscribing or paying for access to ASCO journals or publications, and can accept faculty roles at accredited continuing medical education meetings without creating a reportable event. In addition, members can also volunteer for ASCO Committees and can continue to make personable charitable contributions to the Conquer Cancer Foundation.
If you would like to find out more details about Open Payments or what activities related to ASCO requiring public disclosure by a manufacturer or company, please visit www.asco.org/about-asco/physician-payments-sunshine-act. ASCO will continue to update this website as any new information becomes available. ■
© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.