On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, will convene a roundtable discussion entitled “Let the Sunshine In: Implementing the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.”  The “Sunshine Act” provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires drug, device, biological product, and medical supply manufacturers to report annually certain information regarding payments and other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals. An additional provision requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report all ownership or investment interests held by physicians or members of their family. Further, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is required to establish procedures for making reported information publicly available through an Internet website.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, the roundtable discussion will focus on “how these payments will be made available to the public, the complexities of reporting and collecting payments, and how to engage stakeholders in implementing the law.” The roundtable will be moderated by Dr. Mark McClellan, Director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution. Senator Charles Grassley, co-author of the Sunshine Act, is expected to participate in the discussion, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and a wide range of stakeholders. The following individuals are also expected to participate (subject to changes):

  • Niall Brennan, Director in the Policy and Data Analysis Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Washington, D.C.
  • Dr.  Jeremy A. Lazarus, President, American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.
  • Dr. Douglas Peddicord, Executive Director, Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO), Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Daniel Carlat, Project Director, Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. James H. Scully, Jr., Medical Director and CEO, American Psychiatric Association, Arlington, Va.
  • Dr. Charles Rosen, Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Orange, Calif.
  • Elizabeth O’Farrell, Senior Vice President of Policy and Finance, Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Diane Biagianti, Vice President, Chief Responsibility Officer, Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, Calif.

In December 2011, CMS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking announcing the publication of draft regulations to implement the Sunshine Act. Although the Sunshine Act requires manufacturers and GPOs to begin collecting data starting January 1, 2012, CMS has indicated that it will not require data collection by applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs before January 1, 2013. Both Senators Kohl and Grassley have publicly expressed their disappointment in delaying implementation of the Sunshine Act. Senator Grassley has noted that “consumers need to know more about the financial relationships between their doctors and drug companies sooner rather than later,” and expressed that it is “important that CMS get this right in every way, including the usefulness and accuracy of the information.” Senator Kohl also noted his disappointment with the delay, but looks forward to “working with CMS to finalize the rules so that data collection can begin in January 2013.”