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The Open Payments Program: What it is and Why it Matters

Open Payments is a federal disclosure program within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that provides visibility into financial relationships between drug and medical device companies, and physicians and teaching hospitals.

Beginning in 2021, the program will expand to cover nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologist assistants, and certified nurse midwives.

Fast Facts About Open Payments

  • Since 2013, Open Payments has reported $53.06 billion in payments and 76.25 million total records from more than 2,000 companies.
  • These payments are attributed to 1.08 million physicians and 1,300 teaching hospitals.
  • Open Payments data has been used in hundreds of industry articles, yet the program remains unfamiliar to many healthcare providers.

How the Program Works

The program uses data reported by drug and medical device companies to shed light on payments and other transfers of value that take place each year. This includes general payments such as:

  • Consulting and speaking fees
  • Honoraria, gifts, and royalties
  • Grants and research charitable contributions
  • Entertainment, travel, lodging, food, and beverage      
  • Medical education programs
  • Space rental or facility fees
  • Debt forgiveness
  • Long-term medical supply or device loans
  • Acquisitions

Applicable research payments and ownership or investment interests must also be reported.

Expansion of the Open Payments Program

As required by the SUPPORT Act (P.L. 115-271), beginning in 2021, the Open Payments program will be expanded to include advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. This means that drug and medical device companies and their distributors will be required to start reporting relevant payment data to CMS. To learn more about what constitutes a reportable payment or transfer of value, visit the Open Payments website.

Open Payments registration for the newly covered providers will begin in early 2022. By April 2022, providers will be able to review and affirm or dispute financial information reported about them before it is published. The reported data will be released to the public by CMS in June 2022.

Why Participation Matters

CMS has indexed Open Payments data so that it is easy for patients and others to conduct targeted searches by provider, teaching hospital, or company, as well as by medical specialty and other parameters.

Registration in the system and review of data by providers are voluntary activities, but also highly encouraged to help ensure that the database remains an accurate and useful tool.

Newly covered providers can sign up for updates at Open Payments Contact Us Page. Additional information is also available on the Open Payments website.

Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

All materials available on this site have been paid for and developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and are for use relating to Open Payments. They are provided for free.