CMS Updates Open Payments CME Guidance


CMS updated the Law and Policy page on the Open Payments website with information about the new reporting requirements for continuing medical education (CME) in the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. In October 2014, CMS eliminated the exemption for payments or other transfers of value made to physician speakers at certain accredited continuing education events.

The result of this change is that, starting in 2016, when an applicable manufacturer provides an indirect payment or other transfer of value to a continuing education organization for a continuing education event to physicians, and knows or finds out the identity of the physician attendees/speakers within the reporting year or by the end of the second quarter of the following reporting year, that payment must be reported to CMS in 2017.

An indirect payment is when a manufacturer directs, instructs or otherwise causes a third party to provide payment to a covered recipient. Not all indirect payments are required to be reported, regardless if it is a payment to a continuing education organization. Indirect payments are required to be reported unless the manufacturer does not know the identity of the covered recipient during the reporting year or by the end of the second quarter of the following reporting year. Direct payments made from a manufacturer to a physician will continue to be reported, unless the payment meets an exclusion outlined in the final rule implementing Open Payments.

For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions.

As a reminder, this policy change was made in response to public comments, to create a more consistent reporting requirement and provide more consistency for consumers who will ultimately have access to the reported data.

 Open Payments Live Help Desk Hours Have Changed

Operating hours for the Open Payments Help Desk have changed. The Help Desk is now available by calling 1-855-326-8366, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST), excluding Federal holidays. Peak Help Desk call time is between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (EST). Users may also submit questions to the Help Desk via email at

The Help Desk refers media inquiries to CMS’ Press Office for response.

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