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Groups Urge Feds to Issue Physician Payments Final Rule

Doug Desjardins, January 23, 2013

Groups and coalitions representing physicians, labor unions, and distributors are expressing frustration that little progress has been made on a final rule outlining full disclosure procedures for medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services set a deadline of October 2011.

"We are now 15 months passed the statutory deadline for this vital regulation," said Curtis Rooney, president of the Healthcare Supply Chain Association in a media  statement last week. "The sooner the healthcare supply chain realizes full implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act the sooner patients will realize the full benefits."

A Jan. 14 letter sent by the AFL-CIO and 18 other groups to the federal Office of Management and Budget expressed similar concerns and requested a quick release of a final rule.

"There is a significant consequence for healthcare system costs associated with the ongoing delay in implementation because of the practice by some physicians of over-prescribing certain drugs or by prescribing otherwise medically unnecessary and expensive treatments," the letter stated.

Under the original timeline, a final rule was scheduled to be issued by October 2011, with drug and medical device manufacturers submitting their physician payment information starting March 2013. After the 2011 deadline passed, the CMS said it would issue a final rule by the end of 2012.

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