Data Show $1B in Physician Payments Withheld From New Database

October 7, 2014 in News

CMS’ recently launched physician payment website is missing more than $1 billion in payments made by drugmakers and medical device manufacturers to health care providers, according to a CMS factsheet, ProPublica reports (Ornstein, ProPublica, 10/6). 

Background

Last week, CMS launched its Open Payments System, which is required under the Affordable Care Act’s Sunshine Act and aims to boost transparency by making public payments health care providers have received from pharmaceutical and medical device manufactures.

The first round of data includes payments made between Aug. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013.

Overall, the data show manufacturers made 4.4 million payments to physicians and teaching hospitals during the time frame valued at $3.5 billion.

However, the data are incomplete, with 40% of payments lacking the names of doctors or hospitals that received the payments.

Further, CMS said that about one-third of Open Payments Systems records would be withheld when the system launched because of data inconsistencies.

CMS says it will re-release the data with the correct names by next June (iHealthBeat, 10/1).

Missing Data

Last week, CMS said it would not publish information regarding 9,000 payments that had been disputed by doctors or hospitals during the physician review period. In addition, CMS said it would withhold data on 190,000 research payments for drugs and medical devices that have not been introduced to the market, as is required by the law.

According to the factsheet, the value of the unpublished data is $1.1 billion.

The online database has received mixed reviews since its launch, with some experts and industry groups criticizing the amount of data withheld, the website’s usability and the presence of incorrect data (ProPublica, 10/6).

Meanwhile, others have praised CMS’ efforts to increase data transparency (iHealthBeat, 10/1).

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