House members oppose CMS stance on reprints

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Nearly two dozen members of Congress signaled solidarity with 41 medical boards and 33 physician associations in opposing the inclusion of textbooks and reprints in Sunshine Act reporting. The 23 House members—seven of whom are physicians—sent a letter to CMS to voice disagreement with an HHS decision to include textbooks and journals as “transfers of value” reportable under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.

The co-signers included seven Democrats and 16 Republicans. They argued that CMS's interpretation that reprints and textbooks are not one of the exclusions from the reporting requirements “is inconsistent with the statutory language on its face, congressional intent, and the reality of clinical practice where patients benefit directly from improved physician medical knowledge.”

The decision also “presents a clear disincentive for clinicians to accept high-quality, independent educational materials, an outcome that was unintended when the provision was passed into law,” they added in the letter. If the final regulations stand, they “could inadvertently prevent” physicians and patients from receiving these materials, and “thereby undermine efforts to improve the quality of care provided to patients.”

“Ad agency and publisher representatives will continue to meet with government and industry leaders to pursue a quick resolution of the issues,” added John Kamp, executive director, Coalition for Healthcare Communication, which partnered with the American Medical Association in the effort to reverse the decision, in a statement.

The letter, Kamp said, “should help demonstrate to the CMS rulemaking team that it simply erred.”

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