Open Payments is a federal program, required by the Affordable Care Act, that collects information about certain payments that drug and device companies make to physicians and teaching hospitals for things like travel, research, gifts, speaking fees, and meals. It also includes ownership interests that physicians or their immediate family members have in these companies. This data is then made available to the public each year on openpaymentsdata.cms.gov. Guess who has been added to the list of Health Care Providers? Yep, we are! So, what does this mean?
Have you had to sign in for a speaker program, a lunch program, a dinner program or at a conference? Have you received an honoraria or speaker or advisory board fee? There is a value attached to the “gift” you just received. These monetary amounts will now be reported by the supplying party.
The Open Payments Search Tool https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/ records payments made by drug and medical device companies to physicians and teaching hospitals…and now US!
A Fun Fact: Connecticut was the first state to require tracking of payments to NPs as part of the Sunshine Act with passage of Full Practice Authority in 2014.
How will this affect NPs?
All the compensation we receive in goods, services, honoraria are tracked and reported to the public. This may deter NPs from participating in Pharma stuff. Yet, it may enlighten us in other ways.
The amount of $$ we receive in these “gifts” are far less than the MDs. Once we see some of these discrepancies, it can provide fuel to fight equal pay for equal work. It has always been my fight to be paid the same as the MDs for speaker honoraria: we learn the same slide deck, we present the same deck, yet we receive ~60% less than our physician colleagues. There is a fair compensation guide (anything but that) used by the drug companies to calculate this rate. This now makes it obsolete.
What you can do?
You can and should register to participate in Open Payments by clicking link https://www.cms.gov/OpenPayments/Program-Participants/Physicians-and-Teaching-Hospitals/Registration
Once you are registered you can look at what is listed under your name to insure it is accurate and true. You have until the end of the calendar year, in which the data is first published, to review and dispute the reported information. Changes that drug or device companies make to the data (because of your dispute) will be seen publicly in the data refresh (usually occurring in January of the next year).