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CMS's new rules around the Sunshine Act

Some pretty big news came out last week while I was in San Diego for our West Coast Life Sciences Meeting Management Forum: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule designed to increase public awareness of financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers and certain healthcare providers, as required by the Sunshine Act provision of healthcare reform.

From a pharmaceutical/device meeting manager's perspective (which I got last week in spades, being surrounded by these good folks), no one seemed to be anticipating it making much of a difference in their lives. The biggest issue for them was CMS's delaying the collection of data on physician spend from Jan. 1, 2012, until after final regulations are issued.

I heard over and over again that if they weren't already tracking physician and other healthcare worker spend as a requirement of a corporate integrity agreement, they have been working since healthcare reform passed to get a system up and running. In fact, a survey of the forum's participants found that 88 percent had a system already to track their spend on physicians and other healthcare professionals, and 76 percent were either already testing their system or were confident that their system was ready to roll with the new year.

But that's about as far as I've had time to get with CMS' announcement. I'm not sure whether it's a blessing (so thankful someone's keeping on top of all this!) or a curse (ain't no way I can keep up with the flow of information the dude puts out, much less beat him to the punch, so I have to live with being continually scooped!), but Tom Sullivan has been churning and burning all this up on his Policy and Medicine blog. Keep in mind that he comes at it from a pro-collaboration perspective, but he provides a great overview of possible affects this announcement could have on the CME community. Some posts to check out:

Physician Payment Sunshine Act: CMS Proposed Rule - Impact on Continuing Medical Education, Medical Societies and Patient Organizations

Physician Payment Sunshine Act: CMS Proposed Regulations -- Public Posting, Data Submission and Correction

Physician Payment Sunshine Act: CMS Proposed Regulations Delayed Reporting for Clinical Trials, Penalties and Preemption

Physician Payment Sunshine Act: CMS Proposed Regulations – The Cost for Sunshine

Physician Payment Sunshine Act: CMS Proposed Rule Overview

Physician Payment Sunshine Act: CMS Releases Proposed Regulations

Update:Daniel Carlat, MD, has a different take on how the new rules could affect CME (namely, he's ecstatic that the language could include faculty honoraria in reportable income) on his Carlat Psychiatry blog.

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