CMS To Delay Release of Some Physician Payment Records
When the CMS Open Payments System launches next month, about one-third of the records will be withheld because of data inconsistencies, CMS announced Friday, ProPublica reports (Ornstein, ProPublica, 8/15).
The Open Payments System, which is required under the Affordable Care Act's Sunshine Act, aims to boost transparency by making public what payments health care providers have received from drugmakers and medical device manufactures. It has been scheduled to launch on Sept. 30 (California Healthline, 8/15).
On Friday, CMS said it has fixed errors within the system but added that doing so required removing large chunks of payment data (Al-Faruque , The Hill, 8/15). CMS said it will still make public on Sept. 30 details about provider payments made from Aug. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2013, but the flawed data will not be released until June 2015 (ProPublica, 8/15).
CMS spokesperson Aaron Albright said the department "is returning about one-third of submitted records to the manufacturers and [group purchasing organizations] because of intermingled data, and [the agency] will include these records in the next reporting cycle." He added, "Manufacturers will have to resubmit the data, and it will become public after the manufacturers correct the data and physicians get a chance to review and dispute the data" (Al-Faruque , The Hill, 8/15).
CMS did not give an exact number of records that would be withheld, but the number could be in the millions, according to ProPublica. Albright said that CMS would provide an explanation regarding the missing data when the system is launched. However, providers noted that they have not yet seen such a notice on the system's website (ProPublica, 8/15).
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called the incomplete release disappointing and urged the department to be transparent about what it will be making public. He said, "Incomplete information won't give the public a full picture of payment data" (Al-Faruque , The Hill, 8/15).
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association on Friday again asked the Obama administration to delay launching the Open Payments System by six months to allow providers more time to review the data, The Hill reports.
AMA President Robert Wah said, "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." He added, "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" (Al-Faraque , The Hill, 8/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.