The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has abruptly taken offline a new database that was slated to go live Sept. 30 disclosing financial relationships between physicians and drug and device manufacturers.

CMS was to publish the reported data on a publicly available website in order to create greater transparency of industry-physician financial relationships. However, the Open Payments system has been “taken offline temporarily to investigate a reported issue," according to a statement from the agency.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and as soon as we have more information available, including when the Open Payments system is scheduled to go back online, you will be notified via email," states CMS. "Please note that you may continue to proceed with registering in the CMS Enterprise Portal (the first phase in registering in the Open Payments system.)”

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. Physicians have the right to review the information and challenge reports that they deem false, inaccurate or misleading.

Under the dispute resolution phase, which started July 14 and ends August 27, doctors were supposed to register in the Open Payments system and to review “transfers of value” made to them from pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and to resolve any inaccuracies. 

To make up for the lost time due to the database being taken offline, CMS states that "each day the Open Payments system is offline for this incident, CMS will adjust the Open Payments review and dispute deadline and the following 15-day corrections period deadline accordingly."

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