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CMS’ Open Payments posts full year of 2014 financial data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published 2014 Open Payments data about transfers of value by drug and medical device makers to health care providers. The data includes information about 11.4 million financial transactions attributed to over 600,000 physicians and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals, totaling $6.49 billion.

Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said, “Consumer access to information is a key component of delivery system reform and making the health care system perform better. In year 2, Open Payments is now a highly searchable resource to provide transparency to over 1 1/2 years’ worth of financial transactions between drug and device companies and physicians and teaching hospitals. This is part of our larger effort to open up the health care system to consumers by providing more information to help in their decision making.”

For all 2014 and 2013 data, CMS was able to validate that 98.8% of all records submitted in the Open Payments system contained accurate identifying information about the associated covered recipient. Records that could not be verified to align to an individual covered recipient were rejected and were not processed by the system. CMS will continue to update the Open Payments website annually with data collected from the previous year.

Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, CMS deputy administrator and director of the agency’s Center for Program Integrity, said the agency has improved the Open Payments’ user interface to highlight valuable information for people who want to view payments and other financial transactions involving doctors, hospitals, and drug and medical device makers. Other consumer website upgrades are expected in late summer.

“CMS’ role is to facilitate discussion and analysis of the data by making it publicly available for consumers and researchers,” Agrawal said. “CMS has improved our interfaces for both collecting and reporting this data about compensation and other payments between drug and medical device manufacturers and physicians and teaching hospitals.” 

The Open Payments program, created by the Affordable Care Act, requires drug and device manufacturers to report transfers of value (i.e., payments, honoraria or research grants) to health care providers, as well as other industry-related investments providers may have. The program relies on voluntary participation by physicians and teaching hospitals to review the information submitted by these companies. Registered physicians and teaching hospitals reviewed nearly 30% of the total value of the reported data. “We are pleased that so many providers participated this year, but will continue to work with doctors and hospitals to increase their review rate,” Agrawal said.

An analysis of the physicians and teaching hospitals included in reported data reveals that there are distinct differences between those that have registered and those that have not. For example, the median value of total payments made to registered physicians is $3,644, compared to $747 made to non-registered covered recipient physicians.

Today’s data posting also includes a group of 2013 submissions that could not be verified before the first data publication last September, 2014.

“We expended a tremendous level of effort to resolve inconsistencies in the reporting of these 2013 transactions and are very pleased to be able to align them with the rest of the payments,” Agrawal said. 

CMS will update the Open Payments data at least annually to include updates to data disputes and other data corrections made since the initial publication. The financial data available through Open Payments was submitted by applicable drug and device manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations (GPOs). The accuracy of all data included in Open Payments reporting is attested to by the submitting manufacturer or GPO.

Prior to publication of any Open Payments data, physicians and teaching hospitals are given the opportunity to register with the Open Payments system to review and dispute data submitted about them by applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs. With this data release, both the 2014 and 2013 financial records are now available as part of the Open Payments dataset.

CMS will refresh and publish an update to the full calendar year of 2014 financial data in early 2016. For more information, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/openpayments/index.html and https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov.

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