June 12, 2014 – The American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) House of Delegates is attempting to bring some common sense to the Sunshine Act final rules, passing two resolutions at the AMA 2014 annual meeting this week that call on the AMA to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to add a reporting exclusion for medical textbooks and journal reprints and to raise the reporting threshold from $10 to $100.
The textbook/reprint resolution introduced by the American Medical Group Association states that textbooks and reprints “enhance a physician’s direct care to patients (and therefore, are, de facto, ‘educational materials that directly benefit’ patients).” The document also states that “physicians should have unfettered access to the most current information to help inform their clinical decision-making process without concern for future ramifications such as the Sunshine Act’s reporting process.”
“The Coalition continues to support the position that CMS’ expansion of the Sunshine Act to include textbooks and reprints as transfers of value goes beyond the statute and fails to recognize that these educational materials do, indeed, help patients,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director John Kamp.
The resolution states that if CMS fails to act on adding this exclusion to the reporting requirements, then the AMA should work with Congress to “legislatively expand the exception,” according to the AMA.
“If the AMA House of Delegates advocates that physicians and patients benefit directly from these materials, which are peer-reviewed and subject to strict standards, then CMS – or Congress – should yield on this important issue,” Kamp said.
The resolution proposing to raise the limit on transfers of value between manufacturers and physicians from $10 to $100 states that “the laudable goal of transparency about relationships between physicians and manufacturers will not be achieved through excessive reporting on values of less than $100.” Further, “unduly burdensome requirements to track minimal value transfers, monitor manufacturers’ reporting, and to correct any publicly reported inaccuracies, will be costly to physicians and will not facilitate the goal of the Sunshine Act.”
“The AMA House of Delegates suggestions would further the goal of transparency in doctor/industry relations while reducing the regulatory burden of the rules on industry and government. The Coalition for Healthcare Communication will work with the AMA at the CMS and in the Congress to advance this win-win for patients, doctors and the industry,” Kamp concluded.