Sunshine Law Requires Contact Lens Manufacturers to Begin Recording Payments to MDs and ODs

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Contact lens manufacturers were required to begin collecting data yesterday related to any payments or “transfers of value” they make to physicians (including ophthalmologists and optometrists) and teaching hospitals as required by the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments.”

In its final rule announced in February on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) exempted manufacturers of eyeglasses, sunglasses and over-the-counter readers, which are designated as Class I medical devices (as reported by VMail, Feb. 11, 2013).  Contact lenses are not Class I medical devices and are not exempt. The final rule also requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to disclose to CMS physician ownership or investment interests.

One of the many steps in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act designed to create greater transparency in the health care market, the Sunshine Act was created to prevent fraud, abuse and waste in the health care system by making the public aware of payments made to health care providers by manufacturers of health care devices. Applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs will report the data for August through December of 2013 to CMS by March 31, 2014, and CMS will release the data on a public website by Sept. 30, 2014. CMS will report 2013 data to Congress on April 1, 2015.

The Contact Lens Institute has prepared a brochure produced by The Advanced Medical Technology Association, titled “ The Physician Payments Sunshine Law and You,” that includes information about manufacturers’ requirements and to provide practitioners with additional insights into the law.