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ASPS Joins Effort for Sunshine Act Reforms

ASPS joined with 25 other physician specialty societies and industry trade associations to send a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner regarding shared concerns about the implementation of the Sunshine Act provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The Sunshine Act is an attempt to increase transparency about financial relationships between industry and physicians. CMS has established the Open Payments website on which industry payments and transfers of value to physicians will be publicly reported.

The letter ASPS signed on to takes issue with the fact that there has been no guidance to physicians or industry stakeholders describing how context will be provided to the public regarding the data when it is published on September 30, 2014. Congress mandated context be provided with this data but as of yet, CMS has not indicated how they will attempt to ensure the data is not confusing or misleading to the public.

The letter also takes issue with the two-step registration process physicians must go through in order to register for Open Payments to review their data. The process requires registration for two different systems and includes personal questions. ASPS and the other signers believe the burdensome registration process will lead many physicians not to register.

Lastly, the letter expresses concerns with the lack of information and education that has been proffered by CMS and with the fact that even when information is released about Open Payments registration, it has not been in a timely fashion. For example, Phase 2 of registration opened on Monday, July 14, but CMS made this public on Friday, July 11, leaving virtually no time for societies to get the information to members.

Several media outlets have picked up the letter including the Wall Street Journal and Politico.