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Friday, August 9, 2013

Physician Payments Sunshine Act Goes Into Effect Without Initial Concerns

Today's post was shared by Kaiser Health News and comes from capsules.kaiserhealthnews.org

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, an Affordable Care Act provision requiring doctors and medical companies to disclose their financial relationships, went into effect Aug. 1. Physicians say they are now working to find a balance between necessary transparency and what some perceive to be burdensome filing.

“We want to spend our time seeing patients, not doing paperwork,” said Dr. Jason Mitchell the director of the Center for Health IT at the American Academy for Family Physicians.

The Sunshine Act requires drug companies and medical device makers to report payments, gifts and investments to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though the act is now in effect, a complete set of records are not due until March 2014 and will not be made public until September 2014.

Consumer advocates and other stakeholders favor openness when it comes to the large amounts of money medical and pharmaceutical companies spend to influence a doctor’s choices, according to a Pew Health Center statement from 2012. Holding both parties accountable with a clear reporting system would allow consumers to spot potential bias.

Mitchell, who is also a practicing family medical physician in Missouri, does not anticipate many immediate changes for doctors – aside from fewer lunches with pharmaceutical representatives.

He predicts that because of the increased attention placed on these small meetings that make up a majority of the reportable interactions,...

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