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AAMC Urges CMS to Retain Sunshine Act Exemption for Accredited CME

September 5, 2014— The AAMC Sept. 2 submitted comments  to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to a proposed rule regarding changes to the “Open Payments (Sunshine Act)” program. The proposal from CMS would eliminate the current provision that exempts from reporting certain compensation to speakers at Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs.

Under the provision, applicable manufacturers do not report compensation to a physician for speaking at a CME event as long as the CME program is accredited by one of the accrediting bodies listed in the final rule, and the physician is not chosen or directly compensated by the applicable manufacturer.  This provision was included in the final rule for the Sunshine Act published in the Feb. 8 Federal Register.

The AAMC comments strongly urge that CMS retain the CME exemption, and exclude from reporting compensation to speakers for accredited CME programs who participation in the program is independent of direct relationships with applicable manufacturers. The association also recommends that CMS should not rely on a new interpretation of when an applicable manufacturer is “unaware” of the recipient of CME program funding to achieve the goals of the current CME exclusion.

The AAMC also suggests that CMS not make any changes to the regulations until after the Open Payments database has been made public and stakeholders have had an opportunity to understand how the CME provision has been interpreted and implemented.

The AAMC’s comments on these changes are included in the AAMC’s response to the CY2015 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule [see related story].

The AAMC previously submitted comments urging CMS to include an exemption for accredited CME. [See Washington Highlights, Feb. 24, 2012].


Heather Pierce, JD, MPH
Sr. Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel
Telephone: 202-478-9926


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