Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Herb Kohl, authors of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, today made the following comments on news that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) needs more time to implement the act and will not begin data collection until 2013. CMS' statement is available here.
Grassley said, "It's disappointing that CMS won't even collect data at all this year. The process has dragged on long past the statutory deadline for implementation. Consumers need to know more about the financial relationships between their doctors and drug companies sooner rather than later. It's important that CMS get this right in every way, including the usefulness and accuracy of the information. Given all of the extra time, CMS will have no further excuses for not accomplishing these goals."
Kohl said, "While I am disappointed by this delay and the timeline, I do look forward to working with CMS to finalize the rules so that data collection can begin in January 2013."
The senators developed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which was signed into law in 2010, after revelations of significant under-reporting of the amount of payments received by certain doctors from drug and device companies. The new law requires public disclosure of the financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics industries. The law required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish reporting procedures for applicable manufacturers to submit information, as well as procedures for making that information available to the public, by October 1, 2011. CMS issued the guidance in December after more than a year of pushing for a timely release from Grassley and Kohl.
Grassley and Kohl have written to the acting CMS administrator with questions about implementation, including when CMS will begin data collection.