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Devil's in the details for doctor transparency

The Atlantic, July 3, 2012

Every drug, device or medical supply company must report transfers of value that exceed $10 to the new federal database maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS). Last month CMMS announced it's delaying implementation until January 2013 to allow it more time to create the needed infrastructure, but at least twelve companies are already reporting payments in a less uniform and streamlined fashion. A database maintained by ProPublica makes this data easy to search for interested citizens and healthcare reporters. The ProPublica database has raised important questions for academic medical centers replete with physicians who serve as pharmaceutical company spokespeople.