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Running Your Practice Efficiently While Complying With the Sunshine Act

Transparency helps you build trust with your patients.

Transparency is important, and the Sunshine Act helps keep health care professionals and those who manufacture drugs, medical devices, and other medical supplies transparent in their interactions with each other. As medical office staff, your role is to run your practice in a manner that complies with the Sunshine Act. With this addition to your data management requirements, it’s even more important to run a practice in an efficient and well-documented manner. Practice management software can help.

What is the Sunshine Act?

As of August 2013, the Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership or Investment Interests section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came into effect. Also known as the Sunshine Act, this legislation means that manufacturers must report payments and other medical items to medical doctors and those in other health-related fields such as dentists, osteopaths, podiatrists, and chiropractors. These medical professionals or “covered recipients” might receive fees for speaking at a conference or consulting with a company.

It is important that physicians and other medical professionals track these transfers as well. The transfers are published on the CMS website for physicians, and medical professionals have an opportunity to dispute these statements before they are made public. This means that detailed record-keeping is important.

What Information Should You Track?

As a covered recipient or someone who works with a covered recipient, you need to track the same information that industry is submitting about you, so that you can dispute this information if required. You’ll need to track the amount and date of payments, the specific person who was paid and the national provider identifier, and the drug, device, or medical supply that is associated with this payment. It’s also helpful to note payments made as charitable contributions on behalf of a physician or other covered recipient and any other connections that the physician has to the manufacturer.

Practice Management Software Helps Document Sources of Funds

Reporting requirements can be a challenge for a small medical practice. You already manage patient information and patient billing, work to code patient-physician interactions, and strive to ensure that the day flows smoothly by booking appointments and managing cancellations. While it’s possible to track the amount and source of funds without a software solution, a quality program makes documentation much easier and reliable.

It’s important for all staff who work with covered recipients to be aware of the need for transparency and documentation. Practice management software makes this tracking simple. It provides a process of documentation and a centralized system that houses this information. The software can also create reports that are customized to your needs, so that you can easily find a transaction or look up annual totals.

When you’re trying to comply with data tracking requirements, send in detailed billing information, and manage patient data, you need an efficient way to manage your practice. Try PracticeSuite’s practice management software – start today.

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