The Physician Payments Sunshine Act and the future of healthcare transparency: Part 1

Mary Kate McDevitt ( is an associate in the Qui Tam/False Claims Act practice group of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick and Raspanti LLP in Philadelphia. Marc S. Raspanti ( is a name partner of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP in Philadelphia.

Part 2 of this article series will be published in the March 2022 issue of Compliance Today and focus on examples of enforcement actions and examine the future of transparency statutes.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) took effect in 2013.[1] It requires medical product manufacturers to disclose to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payments or transfers of value made to physicians or teaching hospitals. The act also requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to disclose any physician’s ownership or financial interest in those companies. The disclosed data is published annually in a publicly searchable database.[2] The rationale behind the public availability of the data is to empower patients through transparency to mitigate the putative effect of financial incentives on clinical behavior and the public and prevent physician-industry conflicts of interest.

This two-part article provides a comprehensive analysis of the major healthcare regulatory enforcement statutes and their continuingly expansive use. First, we’ll reference the issues in the healthcare industry that led to the enactment of the PPSA that are relevant to an understanding of the current law and its growing enforcement. Next, we’ll discuss key statutory language and PPSA’s evolution. Then, we’ll consider the impact from a fraud and abuse standpoint, which is important to appreciate the significance of the first examples of Department of Justice enforcement of the act that follow, as well as the likely increase of private PPSA enforcement. We’ll also highlight other sunshine acts, including state and international ones. Finally, we’ll examine the future of transparency statutes, including the Hospital Price Transparency regulation,[3] the newest major transparency statute proposed; the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act; and the Transparency in Coverage statute, which support the notion that transparency is a trend in the healthcare industry that will withstand the test of time.

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