As is customary in Washington, a major announcement was made late on a Friday afternoon.  CMS issued the long-awaited, 15-months-overdue (see here) Final Rule implementing section 6002 of the Affordable Care Act, which added section 1128G to the Social Security Act, better known as the Sunshine Law.   CMS is calling the Sunshine Law the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments.”  The Final Rule can be found here.

The big question on everyone’s mind has been about timing.  In its press release (and in the rule), CMS stated that in order to give manufacturers and GPOs sufficient time to prepare, data collection will begin on August 1, 2013.  Manufacturers and GPOs will report the data for August through December of 2013 to CMS by March 31, 2014, and CMS will release the data on a public website by September 30, 2014.  CMS is developing an electronic system to facilitate the reporting process.

We will provide more detail regarding the almost 300-page final rule in the weeks ahead.  In the meantime, transparency regarding physician payments from manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies is now only 20 months away – just around the corner, at least as measured in Washington time.