Doctors and teaching hospitals have until May 20, 2015, to review and dispute the data submitted by manufacturers and group purchasing organizations before it is included in the Open Payments database, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide greater financial transparency.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires manufacturers of drugs and medical devices that participate in U.S. federal healthcare programs to report to CMS certain payments and items of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals. Providers have the right to review the information and challenge reports that they deem false, inaccurate or misleading. According to CMS, all data for payments made in 2014 has been submitted by the drug and medical device manufacturers and will be included in the public database on June 30, 2015.

Also See: Is the Open Payments System Ready for Prime Time?

“In its second year, the Open Payments program continues to promote transparency and accountability in healthcare by providing consumers with information about financial relationships between drug and medical device manufacturers and physicians and teaching hospitals,” writes CMS Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., in an April 24 blog. “The data posted has been viewed nearly 6 million times and we’re pleased with the continuing engagement of stakeholders on this important transparency initiative.”

However, Agrawal warns that the only way for physicians to confirm that the data reported about them is accurate is to “register and review your payments before the review period ends” on June 30. As a result, CMS is encouraging physicians and representatives of teaching hospitals to register in Open Payments now. Instructions and quick tips for registration are available here.

In 2014, CMS reports that 26,000 physicians registered in the system and lodged over 12,500 disputes. “In contrast, we published information about 4.45 million payments made to at least 366,000 physicians or teaching hospitals that were valued at $3.7 billion,” states Agrawal, who expects that the data reported in 2015 will be on scale with the number and value of payments reported last year.

The Open Payments database has experienced a number of starts and stops due to technical issues, including the inability to correctly match individual physicians with reported data. CMS took the system offline a couple of times in August 2014 to revalidate all data to verify that the physician identifiers used by the applicable manufacturers or GPOs were accurate and that all payment records were attributed to a single physician.

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