Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has launched the Open Payments website that details financial transactions between medical device and drug manufacturers and group purchasing organizations and physicians and teaching hospitals. The Open Payments database was required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Open Payments requires applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations to report certain payments and other transfers of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals, and any ownership or investment interest physicians, or their immediate family members, have in their company. This information must be reported every year.

The first reporting period covers transactions from the last five months of 2013.  Future reports will be published every year and will include a full 12 months of payment data beginning next spring.

The records are organized on the website into three categories: general payments, research payments and physician ownership and investments. Manufacturers made 4.4 million payments to 546,000 physicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals from Aug. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013, Modern Healthcare reported

The site originally launched in August, butwas taken offline Aug. 3 to investigate a physician complaint that manufacturers and group purchasing organizations submitted intermingled data, such as the wrong state license number or national provider identifier, for physicians with the same last and first names, which erroneously linked physician data in the system. CMS said it has implemented system fixes to resolve the issue, and revalidated all data in the system to verify that the physician identifiers used by the applicable manufacturer or GPO are accurate, and that all payment records are attributed to a single physician. Incorrect payment transactions have been removed from the current review and dispute process and this data is not published.