CMS restarts Open Payments website

The Medicare payment website Open Payments is back online, after CMS temporarily shut it down.

The Medicare payment website Open Payments is back online. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shut down the website for nearly two weeks, after an error in the physician payment data was revealed.

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“CMS takes data integrity very seriously and took swift action after a physician reported a problem,” Shantanu Agrawal, MD CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Program Integrity, said in a written statement. “We have identified the root cause of the problem and have instituted a system fix to prevent similar errors. We strongly encourage physicians to review their records before the deadline and before the data are posted publically to identify any discrepancies.”

CMS said that the reporting error was the result of a of group purchasing organizations submitting data associated with the wrong state license numbers or national provider identifiers for physicians with the same first and last names.

The physician data review period was originally scheduled to end August 27, but that deadline has been extended. Providers will now have until September 8 to review and dispute any inaccuracies in their reported data. However, CMS has not delayed the website’s public launch date, which is still scheduled for September 30.

The American Medical Association (AMA) says the extension is not nearly long enough. The AMA is calling for a March 31, 2015, deadline in the registration and data correction process.

“The agency [CMS] has not fixed the major problems that continue to mark the roll-out of this database including confusing and inaccurate information, lack of reliable functionality, and excessive time required to register and review reports. This inadequate response will lead to inaccurate publication of data,” the AMA said.

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