Sunshine Act registration reopens with new deadline

Sunshine Act registration reopens with new deadline

ODs now have until Sept. 8 to register, review data and initiate disputes related to the "Sunshine Act" Open Payments program. The program reopened in mid-August after addressing certain data errors.

Open Payments information will go public shortly ... anyone will be able to see it.

The Open Payments system requires that certain manufacturers and others report any payments or gifts provided to ODs and other physicians. ODs had an opportunity this summer to register for the program and review any reported data for accuracy through the system.

In early August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services took the system offline to correct technical problems. A CMS investigation revealed that manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) had been submitting the wrong national provider identifier numbers or state license numbers for providers with the same last and first names. This issue incorrectly linked physician data in the system.

"We have identified the root cause of the problem and have instituted a system fix to prevent similar errors," Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Program Integrity, said in a statement.

More time to review data
ODs and other physicians originally had until Aug. 27 to review and correct data. To make up for lost time associated with fixing the system, CMS has extended that deadline to Sept. 8. The Open Payments website will become publicly available on Sept. 30.

In light of the confusion that took place on physician identification, the AOA is encouraging its members to carefully check all reports submitted by manufacturers or GPOs.

This is an important process, says Roger Jordan, O.D., chair of the AOA Federal Relations Committee. Open Payments information will go public shortly, and anyone—including the media—will be able to see it, he says. 

Each doctor will need to make sure that the application processes for both the portal and open payments are filled in with the correct information and data, Dr. Jordan says.

Got questions? The AOA's Federal Relations Committee has developed guidance that provides a "to-do" list for ODs on program registration and also explains how the Open Payments program operates.

August 25, 2014

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