Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl today convened a roundtable discussion on implementing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.
Kohl and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who took part in the roundtable, developed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which was signed into law as Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law requires public disclosure of the financial relationships between physicians and applicable manufacturers, including pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics companies.
The law also required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish reporting procedures for manufacturers to submit information, as well as procedures for making that information available to the public, by October 1, 2011. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule in December 2011, the law has yet to be implemented.
"All of the stakeholders--consumer and industry groups together--want a fair rule and want it implemented now," Kohl said. "And that is why we are here today. To give CMS and all the players a chance to discuss how best to make the Sunshine law a reality, and to ensure that CMS is listening to questions and concerns these companies and groups bring to the table."
"Letting the sun shine in and making information public is basic to accountability. The sooner we can properly implement this law, the sooner we can establish greater accountability for patients and consumers, especially with medical research," Grassley said. "There's no legitimate reason for CMS to let this important reform languish."
The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Mark McClellan, Director, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution and included a wide range of stakeholders, including CMS. The discussion focused on applicable payments to physicians will be made available to the public, the complexities of reporting and collecting payments, and how to better engage stakeholders in implementing the law.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT