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January 6, 2015

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act: Testing the Value of Transparency

Author Affiliations
  • 1Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
JAMA. 2015;313(1):23-24. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15472

On September 30, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Open Payment Program (OPP) database, replete with payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals by manufacturers of federally covered drugs, devices, biologics, or medical supplies.1 Physician ownership or investment interest in manufacturers or in group purchasing organizations was also included in the database.1 In so doing, CMS complied with Section 6002 (Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership or Investment Interests) of the Affordable Care Act while adding yet another layer to its National Physician Payment Transparency Program.1,2 Indeed, it was only on April 9, 2014, that CMS announced the release of a data set comprising $77 billion in Medicare part B payments to 880 000 participating Medicare providers for 6000 different types of services and procedures.2 Limited to fiscal year 2012, the public-use data file afforded consumers a clear view of the number of services and procedures carried out by individual providers along with payments made.2