CMS clarifies Sunshine excludability

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With reporting requirements kicking in this month under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, CMS clarified how meals and expenses are to be treated under the so-called CME exemption.

CME speaker travel and lodging costs, CME attendee meals provided to a large group in a communal/buffet style, and most educational materials are “Sunshine exempt,” it said.

The guidance should let physicians take part in CME activities, on both sides of the podium, without concern for being named in the Act's database as recipients of industry dollars, said the CME Coalition, which had requested the clarification.

The coalition said it anticipates more guidance outlining possible additions to the list of accrediting bodies that are counted toward meeting the Sunshine-exemption criteria, and further clarification around meals.

The final rule outlines three conditions to exclude payments to faculty or speakers: payments must relate to an accredited event; not come directly from a manufacturer; and manufacturers cannot select speakers. Pharma, device makers and GPOs needed to start collecting data August 1 for anything “of value” ($10 per occasion, $100 per annum cumulative).

In a July presentation about the Act's implementation, Andrew Rosenberg, senior advisor to the CME Coalition, said commercial supporters should have enough comfort in the CME exemption to move forward without fear of penalty.
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