CMS Shuts Down Sunshine Act Online Verification Process



On August 7, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the Open Payments system is “temporarily” off-line. The CMS announcement did not state when the Open Payments system would be back on-line. The Open Payment database was scheduled to be “live” on September 30, 2014. The system is part of the so-called federal Sunshine Act that was included in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The Sunshine Act requires certain pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers to report to CMS specific information regarding payments to physicians and teaching hospitals. This information is then to be maintained in a public database. 

The Open Payments system was taken off-line after a physician complained to CMS that his information on the Open Payments system was inaccurate and that certain payments were attributed incorrectly. CMS confirmed the discrepancy and apparently identified additional errors that necessitated this action.

The 45-day window for physicians and teaching hospitals to review and dispute information submitted to the Open Payments system was scheduled to continue until August 27, and a 15-day window was then expected to follow to allow time to correct errors.  CMS’ August 7 announcement noted, “For 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.” It is not yet known if the September 30 go “live” date will be delayed.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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