The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the first round of Sunshine Act data on its freshly-updated Open Payments website. 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. The Sunshine Act requires that CMS makes the reported data available to the public on an Internet website that is searchable, clear, and understandable.
On September 30, 2014, CMS published the first round of Sunshine Act data on its publicly available Open Payments website. Interested parties can visit openpaymentsdata.cms.gov to view Sunshine Act data for the 2013 reporting year.
According to CMS, the released data includes "consulting fees, research grants, travel reimbursements, and other gifts" that applicable manufacturers and GPOs provided to physicians and teaching hospitals between August 1 and December 31, 2013. CMS notes that the data contains "4.4 million payments valued at nearly $3.5 billion." Also of note, CMS explains that, due to physician identification and matching challenges, "personally-identifiable information has been suppressed temporarily" in "[a]bout 40 percent of the records published today." CMS states that all data will be fully identifiable in 2015, and that "future reports will be published annually and will include a full 12 months of payment data, beginning in June 2015."