CMS Blocks Access to Physician Open Payments System

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A new database established by the Centers for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that keeps track of payments physicians receive from the pharmaceutical industry has been taken down for the second time in weeks after information was mistakenly put under the wrong physician’s name, Psychiatric News reported.

The Open Payments system allows registered physicians to confirm if information the pharmaceutical industry has reported is accurate. The system, also known as the National Physician Payment Transparency Program, was established by the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.

In early August, ProPublica reported that information from a physician from Florida was put into the database entry of a Kentucky physician who shared the same name. At that time, CMS said it was working to correct the problem and would “work with the industry to eliminate incorrect payment records.”

Last month, several medical organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, sent a joint letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, urging CMS to delay public access to the database until March 31, 2015. Among the issues brought up in that letter were technical problems, a time-consuming registration process and concern over the appeals process.

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CMS Blocks Access to Physician Open Payments System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has for the second time in recent weeks suspended access to its new database that keeps track of payments physicians receive from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

The database, called Open Payments, allows physicians who have registered with CMS to verify the accuracy of the information that these industries have reported. The reporting system was established through the Physician Payments Sunshine Act as required by the Affordable Care Act.

CMS had suspended access early this month after ProPublica published an account of a data mix up in which information from a Florida physician ended up in the account of an Kentucky physician with the same name. At the time, CMS said it was taking the system offline to correct the data problem and would "work with the industry to eliminate incorrect payment records."

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