AMA wants Sunshine Act database publication delayed

August 19, 2014

The American Medical Association (AMA) has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to lengthen the timeframe for registering and using the Open Payments system. This would allow physicians enough time to review and seek corrections of inaccurate claims made by pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, and group purchasing organizations under the Sunshine Act, the AMS noted.

 

Washington-The American Medical Association (AMA) has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to lengthen the timeframe for registering and using the Open Payments system. This would allow physicians enough time to review and seek corrections of inaccurate claims made by pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, and group purchasing organizations under the Sunshine Act, the AMS noted.

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“(This) call comes amidst continued poor functionality of the government website and poor communication to physicians and the public, which has led to widespread confusion among physicians and hindered education efforts about the program,” The AMA said in a prepared statement.

“CMS reports that it has reopened the Open Payments database . . . but indicates it will only allow physicians until Sept. 8 to complete registration and seek correction of data. Yet, the agency has not fixed the major problems that continue to mark the roll-out of this database including confusing and inaccurate information, lack of reliable functionality, and excessive time required to register and review reports. This inadequate response will lead to inaccurate publication of data,” the statement said.

 

The AMA said it believes transparency can strengthen the health care system and benefit both physicians and patients. However, releasing incorrect information to the public, could create misinterpretation, inhibiting the delivery of quality care to patients.

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"In order for the Sunshine Act to be effective, physicians need enough time to review and correct any inaccurate data that may be reported," said AMA President Robert M. Wah, MD. "The issues that resulted in the system being taken offline further underscore the need for more time than CMS proposes to ensure the system is actually ready and that physicians have adequate time to register, review, and seek correction of inaccurate data.

“The lack of faith physicians have in the system at this point in time, is making them wonder if taking time away from patients to go through the process is even worthwhile,” he continued.

In order to get adequate participation in the program to ensure all data reported is fair and accurate, the AMA said it asked CMS to expand the timeframe for registration and data correction until March 31, 2015.

 

“While the AMA supports the Sunshine Act, it cannot support the publication of inaccurate data,” the organization said. “Wrong information reduces patient trust which unnecessarily damages patient-physician relationships. Physicians deserve adequate amount of time to ensure the information being reported is accurate.”

 

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