This is pretty stupid as CME has been exempt from the Sunshine Act and sure there’s other items that are more and doctors get credit and need so many hours credit for their continuing education which is called CME.  Conferences have lectures sponsored by drug companies let’s say for a group of 100 or so.  Ok so now what do we do on something like that, make it complex and calculate each doctor’s cost for one lecture if it is not broken down by a specific payment amount to attend?   Sometimes they attend several lectures at a conferenimagece and this is continuing education which we want them to have by all means. 

I see this as “chicken littles” here as the article goes on to say CMS is worried that they look like endorsing corporate sponsorships for CME so it’s really about that now and not about making it convenient and accessible for doctors to get their CME credits.  Since has CMS worried about their public appearance?  Want to talk about a website where insurance can be bought:) They don’t get enough exposure to the real world at times and they are not alone.  I have not heard one complaint or issue about the way CME credit it handled so who are the insecure folks in there jumping all over this?  Overall though this is not enough of an issue to make a big deal out of this to remove the exclusion. 

There are some other good things in here they have proposed such as increasing payments to family practice by 2% for one and independent labs would be getting a 3% increase.  Adding provisions for telehealth is a good thing of course as that’s included here too.  The Physician Quality Reporting System and the incentive program for electronic health records is said to also include some changes. 

From the website:

To participate in the 2014 PQRS, individual EPs may choose to report information on individual PQRS quality measures or measures groups using the following methods:

(1) Medicare Part B claims
(2) Qualified registry
(3) Direct electronic health record (EHR) using certified EHR technology (CEHRT)
(4) CEHRT via Data Submission Vendor
(5) Qualified Clinical Data Registry.

Individual EPs who meet the criteria for satisfactory submission of PQRS quality measures data via one of the reporting mechanisms above for services furnished during a 2014 reporting period will qualify to earn a PQRS incentive payment equal to 0.5% of their total estimated Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) allowed charges for covered professional services furnished during that same reporting period.

So every time a doctor takes a $10 Drug company CME class online, well that goes on the list for consumers to see now to, and really, who cares as what doctors get paid doesn’t interest me anyway to rummage through as it’s more of media event for the news to use the data to make up a story around it.  It’s nothing I go looking for and sure researchers might be interested to find the big ticket items for drug and device company reimbursements for those maybe abusing it,  but after that who cares.  That’s part of compliance anyway.  Maybe after the roll out last year of the website this thought process evolved.  As we saw the claim information rolled out was just that for doctors, a media affair and now the Wall Street Journal reported that they found out people didn’t like all this data news and is restructuring again.  BD

Judge Rules Medicare Data on Doctors Can Be Accessed by the Public–Methodologies Not Defined–Good for News media But Little “Real”Value for the Average Consumer, Too Many Other Priorities

The CMS intends to eliminate the exclusion for continuing medical education in the Open Payments program, more commonly known as the Sunshine Act, which requires drug and device companies to disclose payments to physicians. The reversal was included in the proposed Physician Fee Schedule for 2015, which also would make changes that would benefit primary-care medicine at the expense of payments to specialties.

The regulations also include a variety of changes to the Shared Savings Program for accountable care organizations, the Physician Quality Reporting System and the incentive program for electronic health records. And it would expand the array of telehealth services that qualify for Medicare reimbursement.

CME organizations and manufacturers that fund education events were blindsided by the move, said Andrew Rosenberg, senior adviser for the CME Coalition, a trade group. “If it is allowed to stand, this policy change will be massively disruptive to every stakeholder in the CME ecosystem—doctors, educators and commercial supporters—who have spent over a year preparing for the implementation of the current rules,” Rosenberg wrote in an e-mail to Modern Healthcare late Friday. Extending the disclosure to CME, he added, would “discourage physicians from learning new medical science by creating a false stigma.”


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