Tuesday, October 16, 2012

7 Things You May Not Know About the Sunshine Act

Since the Sunshine Act has not been around for a long while and because there are not too many training courses on this matter out there, this law has caused quite some controversy in the medical world. Listed below are some facts about the Sunshine act which you may not know, but you should.
1. The regulations within the Sunshine Act are applicable to all companies involved in the manufacturing of medical products reimbursed by the United States federal government. However, manufacturers are encouraged to also track information regarding products which are not currently reimbursed, because they may become so in the future.
2. More specifically, all medical product manufacturers covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or a state children's health insurance program are required to submit payment reports to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services which is under the US Department of Health and Human Services.
3. All transfers of value amounting to more than $10 between medical companies manufacturing drugs, biological products, or medical devices and physicians or hospitals have to be reported. Transactions between manufacturers and teaching hospitals also have to be reported, as do any payments made to covered recipients. Covered recipients include entities that receive monies from the manufacturing company at the request of a covered recipient.
4. If the financial transaction takes place between the manufacturer and a physician who is an employee of the former, the payment information does not have to be reported to CMS.Additionally, manufactures do not have to disclose items offered under warranty, samples or educational materials for patients, in-kind items offered for use in charity care, rebates or discounts.
5. The first reports under the Sunshine Act regulations are expected to begin on March 31, 2013 and they will contain information gathered during 2012 and will continue in this way for each following calendar year. The information gathered from these reports will be introduced in a database which will be made publicly available online, for anyone to search or download.
6. The reports will include not only financial details of the transaction, but also information regarding the relationship between the manufacturing company and the physician or the physician's ownership interest in the company. If any of the physician's immediate family members (children, spouse, parents, and siblings) are linked with the manufacturing company, this information will also be revealed in the report.
7. The following forms of payment have to be reported: cash, cash equivalent, services, stocks or stock options, ownership, and dividends.If multiple transactions occur between a manufacturer and a physician, each transfer of value has to be reported in a separate line item.
It is still too early to tell how the Sunshine Act will influence the medical industry, but the information presented above represents the most important characteristics of this law so far and should help you better comprehend what it is all about. Certain regulations within this law may change over time, so keep an eye out for updates or news on the Sunshine Act.

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