The Sunshine Act - What Optometrists Need to Know

Overview: The Sunshine Act, also referred to as the "Open Payments" Initiative, requires certain manufacturers that produce drugs, medical supplies and devices to publicly report payments or "other transfers of value" they made to physicians (including optometrists) and teaching hospitals.  Certain Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) will also be required to report annually to CMS ownerships or investments held by physicians or their immediate family, in addition to, payments and other transfers of value from the GPO to a physician that holds an ownership or investment interest in the GPO.


Impact on ODs: The Sunshine Act will affect members of AOA and state affiliates because manufacturers will be required to track and report payments and transfers of value made to optometrists.  Manufacturer reports will be submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and CMS will ultimately makes these reports publically available. Patients who are treated by optometrists may review this data.  It is important to emphasize that the burden of compliance falls to manufacturers. ODs are not required to report any information to CMS. However, to ensure that manufacturer and GPO reports are accurate, ODs may want to keep a record of payments and transfers of value received from manufacturers and GPOs. Affiliates may also be called upon by manufacturers to assist the manufacturers in complying with the Sunshine Act regulations.


Key Dates: Manufacturers and GPOs will begin collecting data on Aug. 1, 2013.  Manufacturers and GPOs must report data to CMS by March 31, 2014, and public reporting is scheduled to begin September 30, 2014.


Additional Resources

Sunshine Act Summary (December 2014)

AOA White Paper on the Physician Sunshine Act

AOA Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Sunshine Act

CMS National Physician Payment Transparency Program: OPEN PAYMENTS Webpage

CMS Open Payments Fact Sheet for Physicians

Medicare Learning Network Information on the National Physician Payment Transparency Program: OPEN PAYMENTS

CMS Frequently Asked Questions

CMS Webinar on the National Physician Payment Transparency Program

AOA FRC Special Update on the Open Payments Program