American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

American Osteopathic Association Concerned Over Physician Payments Sunshine Act Data Release Taking Effect Tomorrow

Media Statement                  
Sept. 29, 2014

Statement attributable to American Osteopathic Association President Robert S. Juhasz, DO

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — In anticipation of tomorrow’s release of data on financial interactions between physicians and pharmaceutical companies, medical product manufacturers, and group purchasing organizations as part of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the national professional membership organization for more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, continues to voice concerns over the reports being made public without physicians being allowed ample time to review their data, due to system outages. Further clarification and education on how it will be reported to the public is critical.

The Open Payment Systems program, which requires these companies to report payments or other transfers of value they have made to physicians and teaching hospitals to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was developed to provide patients with greater access to information about the working relationships between physicians and medical product manufacturers. The AOA supports federal efforts to improve transparency of physician and medical industry collaborations, and believes that if properly reported and understood by patients this transparency can be beneficial in making important health care decisions for themselves and their families.

However, the AOA is concerned these complex reports will cause further confusion to the public if released at this time. Among AOA’s concerns is the recent announcement by CMS that it was not releasing one-third of the payment data provided to them by manufacturers, and has yet to announce whether these reports will be available for physician review before being published. This could negatively affect physicians who have previously registered for the Open Payments System and did not locate and identify a payment report in their name and, therefore, did not have the opportunity to review and dispute any potential discrepancies. In addition, CMS has not adequately made it clear to physicians, the public or media how Open Payments System will look when released on Sept. 30.

The AOA supports collaboration on medical research between physicians or teaching hospitals and manufacturers as a necessary relationship that can lead to advancements in medical technologies and medicines. The relationship between physicians, patients and industry is imperative to ensuring appropriate research, developments and feedback occurs and fits with the AOA’s firm support of the concept of “lifelong learning” and belief that the education continuum should extend throughout a physician’s career. The AOA has joined several other physician groups as a member of Partners for Healthy Dialogues, which provides information about how physician-industry interactions improve patient care and is in the best interest of patients.

What is a DO?

DOs are licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery, in the U.S. They complete four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internship and residency programs typically lasting three to eight years. In addition, DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, providing them with an in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. As one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the nation, the number of DOs has grown more than 200% during the past 25 years.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

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Media Contact:
Nicole Grady
(800) 621-1773, ext. 8038
ngrady@osteopathic.org

Twitter: @AOAforMedia  

 

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