From a conversation with a representative from the Open Payments help desk last Friday, we learned that CMS intends to go live and make the public portal accessible today—Tuesday, September 30. That representative also recommended that people register at the CMS list serve in order to receive an email notification with details on how to access the public portal. However, as of 2PM today, I have not received an email from CMS, and the website offers no indication of imminent launch.
Many MediSpend customers have been asking about critical dates. When will the data go public? When will they have access to data removed from their portal? The answer: We still don’t know.
As a reminder to those who may reading about “missing data” for the first time, CMS established reporting guidelines and parameters for manufacturers on how to aggregate and upload the data required to comply with the Open Payments law (aka “The Sunshine Act”). MediSpend customers followed the requirements only to find out that CMS decided to withhold one-third of the submitted data.
CMS indicated that the data was removed because it did not conform to its matching algorithms related to State License Numbers—a requirement not previously disclosed. Specifically, the problem was that CMS had provided standards for data submission that ended up contradicting its internal matching algorithms. Unfortunately, manufacturers are still waiting for CMS to provide access to the removed data sets and for an explanation of the algorithms used to select and remove data.
While this has been going on, physicians, teaching hospitals and medical associations and societies have been reviewing data during the pre-disclosure period and have disputed many of the transactions. And, with the public disclosure deadline looming, over the last 24 hours, members of the press have been publishing articles that highlight the challenges with data interpretation and that offer opinion on the way in which physicians and teaching hospitals interact with industry.
While their conclusion may be off, it’s hard to blame reporters and pundits for their speculations because understanding and evaluating financial relationships between physicians and industry is complex. Technical standards for the exchange of financial interest and disclosure data do not currently exist.
Sample articles on this topic: