When you meet with a medical professional regarding your health, you want the best treatment that will best benefit you, right? If you answered yes to that then you will be happy to hear about the Sunshine Act.
The primary purpose of the Sunshine Act is to make clear of the financial transactions between physicians, teaching hospitals, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
The Sunshine Act requires that any and all payments or transfers of value be tracked and recorded for public record. Enacted by congress into law in 2010, Sunshine Act reporting was enforced until April 2013.
Sunshine Act Reporting
You might be wondering what this means for you, or why it matters to the common patient. The Sunshine Act law is to ensure that medical treatment and supplies are being used for the benefit of the patient and their needs. Transparency of financial or transfer of value was needed to ensure that treatment is based solely on the needs of the patient.
Without this transparency, the risk of increased cost and unfair competition presents itself. As well as a risk to scientific research and scientific integrity.
The ultimate goal of the Sunshine Act is to give patients information about factors that may be influencing their doctor’s treatment plans or recommendations. The Sunshine Act is requiring transparency to allow more information and knowledge to be accessed by the patient to ensure their doctors’ intentions are in their best interest.
Transfer of Value That Requires Reporting
A transfer of value is anything that may be given to you by a physician or medical manufacturer or distributor. Examples include meals, travel, entertainment, gifts, education, research funding, lodging, charitable donations on your behalf, or no charge products provided to physicians or teaching hospitals.
Transfer of Value and Payments That Doesn’t Require Reporting
Aside from the values listed above, there are however elements of payment and value that the federal government does not require physicians, teaching hospitals, and pharmaceutical medical device companies to report.
Examples of these values and payments include payments made towards audiologists, medical residents, transactions less than $10 (but not to exceed $100 per year) educational materials intended for patient use and benefit, product samples for patient use, discounts, rebates, warranties, short term product or equipment loans less than 90 days, or any items under the provisions for charity care.
The Sunshine Act is designed with the patient in mind. The federal government is monitoring these reports of transparency to ensure that as a consumer you being treated with the patient in mind and not any sort of financial benefit or transfers of value, as well as to flag any inaccurate reporting. For more information about open payment and the Sunshine Act, visit this page.
Again, the Sunshine Act is for you. If you have any questions about what your provider or physician is recommending remember you have access to the Sunshine Act reporting.
It is recommended to obtain a national provider identifier at the NPPES website to help ensure that any transfers made to you by manufacturers or distributors are properly reported.