FORT MYERS, Fla. – You can get a look at just how much money drug makers and medical device companies are giving to your doctor. The federal government is making it all available on a website.
The move to disclose how much money doctors and teaching hospitals get from medical businesses is part of the Affordable Healthcare Act. The goal of letting you know who’s paying your doctor, is to shed light on potential conflicts of interest
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS just published the payments made to individual physicians and teaching hospitals during the last five months of 2013. According to CMS, 4.4 million payments, totaling $3.5 billion were made in those months.
Those payments are categorized by consulting fees, research grants, travel reimbursements and other gifts.
CMS says it could not verify the recipient of about 40 percent of today’s records. They say that should be fixed by 2015. Also, doctors and hospitals have 45 days to dispute the information, so some of the data under dispute was not published.
CMS also notes that financial ties among medical manufacturers and doctors do not necessarily signal wrongdoing or conflicts of interest, it’s just information. Instead, it’s up to you to do your research and ask your doctor questions.
To view the database, click on this link.