ISASS recently signed on to a multi-specialty letter to U.S. Senator John Barrasso, MD in support of the “Protect Continuing Physician Education and Patient Care Act” (S. 2978), which would protect the dissemination of peer and independent third-party reviewed services and products that improve patient care. The legislation clarifies a provision in the Sunshine Act (Act) that excludes “educational materials that directly benefit patients or are intended for patient use” from being reported under the Act. In interpreting and enforcing this provision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concluded that medical textbooks, reprints of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and abstracts are not directly beneficial to patients and not intended for patient use, and therefore must be reported under the Act as financial transfers of value between physicians and industry.

S. 2978 clarifies this reporting exemption by stating that “educational materials” include “peer-reviewed journals, journal reprints, journal supplements, medical conference reports, and medical textbooks.” The legislation also adds two additional reporting exemptions to the Act for 1.) payment or transfer of value for speaking/preparing educational materials for an educational event for physicians or other health care professionals that does not promote a drug, device, biological or medical supply and 2.) payment of transfer of value for medical education including tuition to attend an educational event or materials at an educational event.

More than 105 state and specialty societies signed on to the letter in support of the legislation.

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