First Set of Data Published from Sunshine Act

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the first set of data gathered from reporting required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act) on Sept. 30, 2014.

The data, which can be accessed here, featured 4.4 million payments and other transfers of value by pharmaceutical and device manufacturing companies to about 546,000 U.S. physicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals made between Aug. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2013. From July 14, 2014 to Sept. 11, 2014, physicians had the opportunity to review their reports and challenge any inaccuracies or misleading information.

The CMS stated that $3.3 billion out of $4.6 billion total payments from industry are missing or de-identified.

Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, addressed the concerns of vague, imperfect information in a press conference on health care policy on Oct. 9, 2014, explaining that the goal is to create a transparent marketplace by moving the information forward so that consumers and providers have information to make decisions.

“Can we improve it? Should we improve it? Yes,” she said, in regard to the information reported. “One of the decisions that we had to make, and I had to make the decision, is the information wasn’t perfect. In the most recent rollout, there was data that was not as clean, and so we had to present some of the information, (but we) couldn’t present exactly all. But (we) made a decision that it was better to get out a large portion of the information so that we can continue on this path (of) transparency.”

“The transparency path, because it’s new to everyone, (is) going to take us time to get there,” Burwell continued. “We need to continue to evolve.”

Burwell’s press conference can be viewed here.


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