The Sunshine Act: What it means to you, what you need to do

August 6, 2013

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologicals that participate in U.S. federal healthcare programs to report certain payments and items of value given to members of the health care community.

 

Washington-Before the fiscal year goes any farther, this may be a good time to review the newly implemented Physician Payments Sunshine Act, better known simply as the Sunshine Act, which went into effect August 1.

The Sunshine Act is meant to enhance transparency in relationships between the pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing industry and doctors or teaching hospitals. The act requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologicals that participate in U.S. federal healthcare programs to report certain payments and items of value given to members of the health care community.

Manufacturers are required to collect and track payment, transfer, and ownership information. The compiled data is then submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on an annual basis. Also, manufacturers and group purchasing organizations must report certain ownership interests held by doctors and their immediate family members.

Most of the information contained in the reports will be available on a public, searchable Web site starting Q4 2014. Doctors have the right to review their reports and challenge data that are false, inaccurate, or misleading.

To help doctors and the medical community at large navigate this new reporting obligation, the AMA offers a Toolkit for Physician Financial Transparency Reports . The Toolkit is a guide to complying with the process before your 2013 financial data is published online next year.