Senators Push CMS to Implement Physician Payments Sunshine Act

[author: Eugene Ngai]

In a roundtable discussion of the Senate Special Committee on Aging last week, Senators Chuck Grassley and Herb Kohl called on CMS to issue final regulations implementing the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. The Sunshine Act requires certain companies such as pharmaceutical and device companies to report to CMS compensation paid to physicians and teaching hospitals, and any ownership or investment interest owned by physicians. CMS would thereafter publish the data from such reports on a publicly available website. Although data collection was initially supposed to start at the beginning of 2012, CMS has not yet promulgated final regulations, and data collection is not expected to start until 2013 at the earliest. Although CMS published a proposed rule on December 19, 2011, CMS has purportedly struggled with addressing the large volume of public comments. The law contemplated that companies would have 90 days after the final rule was issued to prepare for data collection. If CMS intends to provide companies with a similar amount of time to prepare, it will have to publish a final rule over the next few weeks, or further delay the implementation date for data collection.

Senator Grassley’s complete statement can be found here.