The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released late today its final rule implementing the physician payment transparency provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Section 6002), commonly referred to as the "Physician Payments Sunshine Act." Among other things, the Act requires drug, device, biological or medical supply manufacturers to report payments or other transfers of value to physicians and other covered recipients. In addition, the Act requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report certain information regarding ownership or investment interests held by a physician in the manufacturer or GPO.

The official version of the final rule, titled “Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership of Investment Interests” (the “Final Rule”), will be published in the Federal Register on February 8, 2013. A proposed rule was previously published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2011, for which CMS received over 300 comments from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Final Rule provides important guidance to manufacturers and GPOs regarding the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, resolves several questions remaining after publication of the Proposed Rule, and raises some new ones. Notably, CMS has announced that manufacturers and GPOs will not be required to collect required information until August 1, 2013. Manufacturers and GPOs will be required to report the data for August through December of 2013 to CMS by March 31, 2014 and CMS will release the data publicly by September 30, 2014