How the Physician Payment Sunshine Act Could Affect Practice Revenue

Greg Freeman , October 10, 2013

Social functions can put you on list
Even when attending professional meetings that are not sponsored by drug companies, Hitchcock says he will have to be careful about the social functions he attends. Breakfasts and social hours often are sponsored by drug companies, and Hitchcock says he will no longer attend those because his name would show up on the disclosure lists.

"I think once physicians see this happening, it's going to have a really chilling effect on their relationships with the healthcare industry," he says. "A lot of what is going to be disclosed is just a normal part of doing business, but I'm not sure I want my ownership value in a GPO, for instance, to be put out there for public consumption. It's like putting my taxes out there for anyone who wants to see."

Physicians must reexamine their relationships with drug and device makers, Hitchcock advises. More than ever before, he says, watch for the line between an informative interaction and the exchange of something that has monetary value. Talking with a drug company representative and accepting samples for your patients should be no problem, he says.

"Try to avoid, at all costs, accepting anything of monetary value," he says. "That will keep your name off the lists."

What the transparency program means to you
CMS is implementing the Open Payments Program to increase public awareness of financial relationships between manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies, as well as between applicable group purchasing organizations , and physicians and teaching hospitals.

Relevant definitions
The following key definitions were included in recently adopted related regulations:

  • Applicable manufacturers are defined as those entities that operate in the United States and, subject to limited exceptions:
    • Are engaged in the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, or conversion of a covered drug, device, biological, or medical supply; or
    • Are entities under common ownership with an entity ­engaged in such activities, which provide assistance or support to such entities with respect to the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, marketing, promotion, sale, or distribution of a covered drug, device, biological, or medical supply.


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