On February 1, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced the release of the final regulations implementing the Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership or Investment Interests section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the “Sunshine Act.” The Sunshine Act requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biological products, and medical supplies to report annually certain information regarding payments and other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals. An additional provision requires applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (“GPOs”) to report all ownership and investment interests held by physicians or members of their families. As set forth in the final regulations, applicable manufacturers and GPOs must begin data collection on August 1, 2013, and must file their first reports on March 31, 2014.

CMS  recently released two mobile applications (“apps”) to assist physicians and applicable manufacturers and GPOs with the implementation of the Open Payments program, and tracking of payments and transfers of value required by the Sunshine Act. 

The new apps, OPEN PAYMENTS Mobile for Physicians and OPEN PAYMENTS Mobile for Industry (for applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs), were produced to ensure greater data accuracy and simplify required annual reporting. Among other things, physicians and applicable manufacturers and GPOs may utilize these apps for individual tracking of transfers of value in real-time  and to share  transfer of value information between physicians and applicable manufacturers and GPOs. Physicians are not required to report payments or transfers of value to CMS, but can use the physician targeted app to ensure accuracy of information regarding their financial relationships with industry.

CMS also posted Frequently Asked Questions regarding the functionality and usage of the apps:

http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/National-Physician-Payment-Transparency-Program/Downloads/Mobile-App-Public-FAQs.pdf. 

Additionally, for more information on the apps, please visit CMS’ Open Payments website at:

http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/National-Physician-Payment-Transparency-Program/index.html.  

Please note that CMS stated it “will not validate the accuracy of data stored in the app, nor will it be responsible for protecting data stored in the app.”  According to CMS, use of the OPEN PAYMENTS’ apps is optional and voluntary, and intended for information collection and storage purposes only. Both apps are now available for download for iOS (Apple™) and Android™ mobile phones.