CMS To Update Physician Data on Open Payment Website Annually

February 2, 2015 in News

A CMS spokesperson has said the agency will publish updated physician payment data annually through its Open Payments System database, the Wall Street Journal reports.

However, the spokesperson did not say when the agency would release the next installment of data (Stewart/Carreyrou, Wall Street Journal, 2/1).


In September, 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 drugmakers and medical device manufactures. The first round of data included payments made between Aug. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013. Overall, the data showed manufacturers made 4.4 million payments to physicians and teaching hospitals during the time frame valued at $3.5 billion.

In December 2014, CMS updated the website to include about 68,000 new payments. The database now includes payment information for about 500,000 physicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals, totaling $3.7 billion

However, a recent analysis of the data found that the data contained in the system are riddled with errors (iHealthBeat, 1/23).


Former CMS Administrator Gail Wilensky said the annual updates could help to bolster physicians’ payment reporting. She said, “As imperfect as the data may be, its continued release makes it in the physicians’ interest to make it better — more useful and accurate — instead of just fighting its release.”

However, the American Medical Association and other groups have criticized the system, which they argue contains incorrect and incomplete data that could mislead consumers. AMA has urged HHS not to release any more data until the current information is improved. For example, the group in 2014 said additional context data should be added to the payment listings.

According to the Journal, CMS has not indicated whether it would make any changes to the reporting system going forward (Wall Street Journal, 2/1).

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