(BOSTON) – “We at Community Catalyst, a national consumer health care organization working in more than 40 states, commend the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on releasing the final rule that creates the National Physician Payment Transparency Program. This groundbreaking initiative will open a much-needed window upon the nature of the millions of payments and other transactions taking place between our drug and device manufacturers and prescribing physicians.
“Community Catalyst campaigned long and hard for the Sunshine Act alongside other consumer, provider, labor and senior organizations. Thanks to the Administration’s enactment of this law, passed as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, beginning on August 1 of this year, manufacturers of drugs, devices and biologics must report nearly all payments or other transfers of value they make to any physician or teaching hospital. This information will be publicly disclosed on a website in a searchable, downloadable format on September 30, 2014 and every June 30th thereafter.
“This transparency will protect the quality of care by helping to ensure physicians base treatment decisions on sound medical science rather than marketing. Financial relationships between physicians and industry have been associated with reduced generic prescribing, prescribing patterns inconsistent with evidence-based guidelines, and increased drug costs to patients and the health care system. Finally, patients, the public, health programs and the medical profession itself will be able to see and evaluate payments by industry to physicians and teaching hospitals.
“In the spirit of transparency, CMS provided stakeholders with an unprecedented number of discrete issues for public comment. We applaud CMS for creating reporting requirements that will make the information about the amount and type of industry payments to doctors as clear, consistent and comprehensive as possible. We also thank the agency for doing their best to close a number of potential loopholes under the law that could have significantly weakened the program. For example, the agency did their best to limit the payments labeled as research funding that could receive a four-year delay in public disclosure.
“We commend the Administration and CMS on the strength of the overall rule, and look forward to working with the agency along with patients and other stakeholders to maximize the promise of this powerful tool for improving patient care and medical professionalism.”
About Community CatalystCommunity Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1997 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Read our blog at http://blog.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub