Some payments exempt from Sunshine Act pharma database reporting
- On August 1, 2013, CMS started tracking payments from the pharma and medical device industry to healthcare practitioners and teaching hospitals. The goal: to create transparency as outlined in the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has decided that in certain cases, companies do not have to report payments to physicians who participate in continuing medical education (CME) events—especially if the events are funded by non-commercial sources.
- When data was reviewed from the open payments system for a 5-month period in 2013, the total outlay from industry to doctors and hospitals was around $3.5 billion. There has been some controversy about what should be reported and what should be exempt.
There has been scrutiny of continuing medical educational (CMS) programs for years. Detrators are convinced that many CME programs are thinly veiled promotional programs. For this reason, many CME events are now funded by non-commercial sources that take pharma funding out of the equation entirely.
In fact, 83% of all CME courses are now funded by non-commercial sources. Therefore, it makes sense that physicians who are being paid to speak at or attend CME events are not receiving money from industry—meaning that these payments are not reportable based on the updated Sunshine payments guidelines.