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January 2015

Missing chunk of Open Payments data raises concerns

A new public website lets visitors look up information regarding gifts and payments given to teaching hospitals and physicians by device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. This data, collected in the CMS Open Payments system, is required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. September 2014 marked the first time that data collected from August 2013 onward became available to the public. Many physicians and medical device manufacturers voiced their concerns about disclosing this data and sought a delay in the website's release. Generally, their concerns focused on two topics: the sensitive information that could be taken out of context by patients and lack of confidence in the data. The uncertainty about the data quality stems from the fact that CMS has twice announced that some data would not be included in the data sets made available. CMS also experienced a hiccup during the physician-review portion of the Open Payments process. A physician who was checking his reported financial interactions noticed that the ...

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