This Week – December 17, 2011

This Week in Washington DC:

  1. Congress Close to Temporary Medicare Reimbursement Fix
  2. CMS Releases Physician “Sunshine Payment” Rule  

Legislation Would Delay Looming Medicare Provider Cuts
Congress is close to passing an extension of current Medicare reimbursement rates. This extension would delay the 27 percent Medicare provider reimbursement cut scheduled in January 2012. According to reports from Capitol Hill, the extension of 2011 rates could be a short as two months or through 2012. As is the recurring theme this Congress, the disagreement is over the revenue offsets to pay for this moratorium on Medicare reimbursement cuts. It is also a temporary fix to a long-overdue permanent solution.

The agreement will be part of a larger package that extends unemployment insurance and certain tax breaks set to expire in January 2012, including an extension of the payroll tax cut. 

ACG will update membership on the developments that transpired over the weekend in the next “ACG SmartBrief” on Monday, December 19th. Please stay tuned.

CMS Releases Proposed “Sunshine Payments” Regulation
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday released a proposed regulation regarding drug and device manufacturers’ payments to physicians and teaching hospitals. This regulation was mandated by Congress when it passed the health reform law in March 2010 and includes monetary penalties to manufacturers for failing to disclose payments to physicians, including physicians serving as consultants, as well as failing to disclose physician ownership interests in the companies (this does not include ownership of publicly traded stocks).

CMS proposes that manufacturers submit a partial year report on March 31, 2013. Once the data has been submitted, CMS will aggregate manufacturer submissions at the individual physician and teaching hospital level, provide physicians with a 45-day period to confidentially review and, if necessary, correct the data, and make the data publicly available by September 30, 2013.

ACG is currently reviewing the proposed rule and will provide membership with further guidance. 

Please click the following link to view the proposed rule:
“Sunshine Payment” Proposed Regulation

Please stay tuned for further updates. Please also share and discuss your thoughts with fellow ACG members on the ACG GI Circle. To login and share your comments, go to and sign in as a member. Once you have done so, click here and then click the orange "Visit ACG GI Circle" button to be taken to the GI Circle site. If you have not yet activated your ACG GI Circle account, please email us at

Contact Brad Conway, VP Public Policy, with any questions or for more information.

Brad Conway