CMS’ Open Payments Website Updated With Full-Year 2014 Data

July 1, 2015 in News

On Tuesday, CMS updated its physician payment website to include about 11.4 million payments made to providers by drugmakers and medical device companies in 2014, Reuters reports (Berkrot, Reuters, 6/30).

Background

In September 2014, 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 (iHealthBeat, 4/10).

Payment Data Details

The data, which include payments made to more than 600,000 physicians and 1,100 hospitals in 2014, encompass an entire year’s worth of payments for the first time since CMS began releasing such information. CMS also published updated data on payments made in 2013. The data include provider payments for consulting, research and promotional engagements, meals and other expenses paid by drugmakers and medical device companies. CMS said it was able to verify 98.8% of the total records for both years had information correctly identifying recipients.

Further, CMS allowed providers to review the data before they were published. The department said providers reviewed around 30% of the total amount of data ahead of their release (Wall Street Journal, 6/30).

Overall, the data include information on 11.4 million payments made to providers by drugmakers and medical device companies in 2014 (Reuters, 6/30).

The data show providers received $6.49 billion in payments from drugmakers and medical device manufacturers in 2014.

According to the data, about half of the total payments made last year were for research-related efforts. About 81% of such payments were made in cash or cash equivalents, the data note. Further, the data show many of the higher payments were made for activities related to drugs that have been available on the market for several years.

Meanwhile, the data show drugmakers and medical device companies paid providers:

  • $803.49 million in licensing or royalty fees;
  • $403.64 million for drinks, lodging, meals and travel; and
  • $369.44 million in consulting fees.

Reaction

Although CMS has allowed providers to review the data before they were published, the American Medical Association in a statement on Tuesday said “the vast majority of the data released … ha[d] not been independently validated by physicians, which makes it less usable for the patients it’s intended to benefit.” Further, AMA said CMS’ process for providers to review the payments is cumbersome, which limits participation  (Loftus/Walker, Wall Street Journal, 6/30).

Jason Dana, a professor at the Yale School of Management, said the data are needed to understand how money is used in the industry and “to develop policy.” Dana added, “No pharma companies spend this kind of money in a disinterested way” (Chen/Tracer, Bloomberg Business, 6/30).

CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said, “Consumer access to information is a key component of delivery system reform and making the health care system perform better” (Golab/Sandler, Modern Healthcare, 6/30).

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