Why Your Sales Rep Doesn’t Bring You Flowers Anymore

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Author(s): 
Andrew Van Haute, JD

What The Sunshine Law Forbids And Permits

Complementing the AdvaMed Code is the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which was included as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The main purpose of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act is to provide patients with enhanced transparency into the legitimate relationships their healthcare providers have with manufacturers, including medical technology companies and their representatives.

   The Physician Payment Sunshine Act does not restrict industry-physician interactions or collaborations. Indeed, these are essential to the unique innovation model for developing advanced medical technologies and the safe and effective use of such products. Nor does the Physician Payment Sunshine Act prohibit payments or transfers of value related to legitimate industry-physician interactions or collaborations. Rather, the law requires manufacturers and their representatives to track and report payments and transfers of value made to healthcare providers and teaching hospitals that result from these interactions.

   Reportable items under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act include not only payments for consulting and honoraria but also gifts, food and beverages, entertainment, travel or any other transfers of value worth $10 or more (or even items worth less than $10 if the total for a doctor adds up to $100 in a given year). The law also requires reporting of ownership/investment interests.

   Patients will be able to see these reported payments and transfers of value when the data is published on a searchable public website by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in September 2014. Related data collection by manufacturers began in the summer of 2013. The information patients will be able to see may include brief contextual statements for specific payments or transfers of value provided by manufacturers to help patients understand the purpose of these transactions.

In Conclusion

AdvaMed and its members have actively supported passage and effective implementation of the Sunshine Law to help ensure that healthcare professionals like podiatrists continue to make independent decisions regarding the healthcare and treatment of patients, and the collaborative development of advanced medical technologies.

   Healthcare providers can work hand-in-glove with AdvaMed as well as individual medtech companies and company reps that may follow the AdvaMed Code. Doing so promotes strong standards and helps educate colleagues and patients about the requirements of the code and the Physician Payment Sunshine Act to help meet their mutually important goals.

   Van Haute is an Associate General Counsel at AdvaMed.

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