It's once again the time of year when physicians and teaching hospitals have a short window of opportunity to review -- and dispute, if called for -- their data for the 2018 Open Payments program year.
Physicians can access a preview of their data through May 15. And then in June, CMS will publish the 2018 data, as well as updates to data submitted for the previous program year, and just like that, all of the information is in the public domain.
Importantly, any disputes must be initiated by May 15 if they are to be reflected in the June data dump.
According to CMS, all records turned in during the submission period of the current calendar year, including newly edited, submitted and re-attested records from previous calendars, are eligible for review and dispute.(www.cms.gov)
It's important to note that CMS does not mediate or facilitate disputes; rather, physicians and teaching hospitals that choose to voluntarily review their data must work directly with reporting entities to resolve any disputes.
For readers unfamiliar with the Open Payments program,(www.cms.gov) CMS initiated the program in 2014 to implement a directive from the Physician Payments Sunshine Act that called for increased transparency regarding financial agreements between physicians and drug and device manufacturers.
As such, the program is set up to gather information related to money and other items of value physicians and teaching hospitals receive from drug and device companies, such as travel, speaking fees and meals.
In addition, the Open Payments program collects information about physicians' or their families' ownership in such companies.
Physicians need to have an active account to enter the Open Payments system. Users who registered in previous years do not need to register again. However, accounts that have not been accessed in the past 60 days will be locked.
To unlock an account, go to the CMS Enterprise Portal,(portal.cms.gov) enter a user ID and correctly answer the challenge questions before setting up a new password.
Accounts not accessed for 180 days or more will be deactivated; reinstate accounts by contacting the help desk at 855-326-8366.
CMS will hold a webinar on April 10 at 1 p.m. EDT that covers the review, dispute and correction period and answers participants' questions. To ask a question, register online(meetings-cms.webex.com) at least 15 minutes before the webinar begins. To simply listen to the webinar, call 844-396-8222 and enter meeting number 909-470-621 when prompted.