DearColleague.us

Letter

Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Michael C. Burgess
Sent By: kathryn.allen@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 5539
Date: 11/12/2014

Dear Colleague:

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act was intended to give transparency with regard to payments and other financial transfers of value to physicians. Congress outlined 12 specific exclusions from the reporting requirement to ensure that medical practice and patient care would not be harmed. Included in these exclusions was an exemption for educational materials that “directly benefit patients or are intended for patient use.”

Multiple times, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized the need for such exclusions in order to ensure doctors had access to the most up-to-date medical information. However, in recent rules, CMS decided to reverse course and determined that both continuing medical education events and the distribution of medical text books and peer reviewed journals were subject to reporting.

Unfortunately, this overly prescriptive implementation is having a chilling effect on the continued medical education of American physicians.

Continuing medical education plays a vital role in our healthcare system by improving patient outcomes, facilitating medical innovation, and keeping our nation’s medical professionals up-to-date with the rapid pace of scientific discovery. Because of this important role in health care delivery, continuing medical education is recognized by medical practitioners as an essential part of professional development and a key resource in ensuring both the quality and effectiveness of care delivery.

For a typical physician who will practice medicine for 30 to 40 years over the course of his or her career, assessments, treatments, and procedures learned in medical school and residency can become outdated with advances in medicine and technology.  In fact, many illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS or Ebola, did not even exist forty years ago.

That is why we introduced H.R. 5539. This bipartisan piece of legislation will help to minimize the negative impacts of this law on continuing medical education and patient care.

The bill will merely exempt continuing medical education events and educational materials like textbooks and journal articles from reporting requirements. These essential tools provide a direct benefit to patients because better informed clinicians provide better care to their patients.

Please join us as a co-sponsor of H.R. 5539 so together we can fix this flaw. If you would like to sign on or have any other questions, please contact Katie Allen at Kathryn.Allen@mail.house.gov in Rep. Burgess’ office or Gary Gorski at Gary.Gorski@mail.house.gov in Rep. Schwartz’s office.

Sincerely,

________________________                                                                  ______________________

Michael C. Burgess, M.D.                                                                                    Allyson Y. Schwartz                      

Member of Congress                                                                                            Member of Congress