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CME Coalition: AMA Legal Advisory on Sunshine Reporting Exemption

March 04, 2016

On February 19, 2016 The American Medical Association (AMA) released a legal regularly document regarding The Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) with regards to the Open Payments Sunshine reporting requirements for Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities. This latest update and guidance from AMA aligns with the ongoing analysis that the CME Coalition has been pushing since the final rules and regulations were announced by CMS in October 2014.

The Final Rule

The "Final Rule" of the PPSA, or Sunshine Act, was announced in October 2014 by CMS. CMS concluded that
payments or other transfers of value, including payments made to physician covered recipients for purposes of attending or speaking at continuing education events, which do not meet the definition of an indirect payment as defined at § 403.902 are not reportable.
Furthermore, CMS expanded and emphasized on this and stated that CME-related payments that comply with independence standards such as the AMA’s certified and ACCME’s accredited CME programs are “not reportable regardless” of whether the manufacturer “learns the identity of the covered recipient” in any future timeframe “because the payment or transfer of value did not meet the definition of an indirect payment.” In both cases, CMS clarified and reiterated that when an “applicable manufacturer conveys ‘full discretion’ to the continuing education provider, those payments are outside the scope of the rule” and thus, not subject to reporting.

Guidance from The AMA

Based on all of the above, The AMA suggests the following guidance when it comes to transfers of value and their reportability at accredited CME activities:
Therefore, while every commercial supporter must make its own determination as to the reportability of specific payments, compliant AMA certified and ACCME accredited programs or activities should not meet the definition of a reportable payment under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (“Sunshine Act” or “Open Payments”).
The full press release with guidance from The AMA can be found here. If you have any questions about this document or Sunshine Reporting, please feel free to contact us here.