CMS Clarifies Sunshine Act CME Exclusion

Oct. 6, 2016 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently clarified in a revised FAQ that manufacturers that provide a payment or transfer of value to support continuing medical education (CME) but do not specify that the CME provider should offer payment to a specific physician speaker or faculty member would not be subject to reporting under the Sunshine Act Open Payments program.

“Finally, after years of equivocating, CMS is clearly stating that faculty and students at certified CME programs are not subject to Sunshine reporting,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director John Kamp. “Amen to that!”

“The revised FAQ 8165 replaces an earlier FAQ on the same subject by providing greater specificity with regard to the exclusion of certain CME-related payments from Sunshine Act reporting that meet the standards outlined by CMS,” according to an update from Policy and Medicine.

The CME Coalition states that although “this FAQ is fully consistent with its earlier interpretation of the status of independent CME-related payments when CMS revised the regulations in 2014, as well as the interpretation of other leading stakeholders like the American Medical Association, the revised FAQ now provides even greater clarity to stakeholders.”

The CME Coalition also states that because the revised FAQ “does not represent a shift in policy, this FAQ applies to all CME-related transfers of value that have taken place since January 1, 2014.”