Open Payments program reveals $7.52B paid to physicians, teaching hospitals

According to the 2015 financial data for the Open Payments program, manufacturers of various health items paid $7.52 billion to physicians and teaching hospitals. These payments are broken up into three categories: general, research, and ownership or investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family members. The program was created by section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), also known as the Sunshine Act.

2015 results

A total of 11.90 million records attributed the payments to 618,931 physicians and 1,116 teaching hospitals and were spread out as follows:

  • $2.60 billion in non-research payments;
  • $1.03 billion in ownership or investment interests; and
  • $3.89 billion in research payments.

The dataset identifies physicians by name, practice location, and specialty. The manufacturer or group purchasing organization (GPO) is identified, the amount and date of payment is specified, and the names of the product or products are listed. The payments range from as low as a penny to as high as $30 million.

The Open Payments program is intended to promote transparency regarding financial relationships between companies and physicians. The public is able to easily search for their physician’s name or the name of a teaching hospital or company. The data also allows CMS to observe various trends.