AdvaMed urges implementation of doc payment transparency act

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In an Oct. 25 letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and other industry stakeholders urged the implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Provision, a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires drug, device and medical supply manufacturers to report payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals.

The provision was recommended by medical, consumer and industry groups—including Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Institute of Medicine—to make financial relationships between companies and health professionals transparent, according to AdvaMed.

“This federal transparency provision has support from diverse stakeholders, including consumer and patient groups, professional medical associations, provider organizations, and industry,” the signatories wrote.

The law requires the HHS to establish reporting procedures by Oct. 1, for applicable manufacturers to submit information to the secretary, as well as procedures for making the information available to the public. It additionally states that the secretary is required to “consult with the Inspector General, affected industry, consumer advocates and other interested parties to ensure that the information made available to the public is presented in the appropriate context.”

Authors asked the secretary to act quickly, and noted that many companies have invested in preparing to comply with the provision, which requires them to begin collecting information by Jan. 1, 2012, and to submit required information to HHS by March 31, 2013.

“However, delays in establishing procedures for the submission and public reporting of the required information will make it increasingly challenging for manufacturers to know whether they are meeting their statutory obligation as they begin to collect data in 2012,” the industry representatives wrote.

Because Congress intended for industry to have three months to complete implementation based on the specified dates, AdvaMed requested a similar time period to be permitted following the implementation of the final reporting procedures.

“An absence of established procedures could harm both companies who are trying to comply with the law and the public who stands to benefit from increased transparency of these relationships,” read the letter. “This provision had bipartisan champions in Congress and has the support of both consumer groups and industry. Full implementation of this law will protect patients and help restore trust in our healthcare system.”

Signers included not only AdvaMed, but also the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Community Catalyst, Consumers Union, Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, Pew Health Group and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Click here to view the letter.