Compliance Buzz March 14, 2016 – Three Good Reasons to Pre-Disclose HCP Spend

To pre-disclose, or not to pre-disclose. That is the question.

Life science staffs are juggling multiple HCP spend transparency disclosure requirements these days. Managing those requirements can be a complex process, involving multiple systems and personnel dedicated to collecting and reporting the data. Teams charged with the management of spend transparency have to consider whether pre-disclosing the data, outside of what may be required by law, is a good idea.

Here are three reasons why we think the answer is yes:

1: It keeps HCP’s from being blindsided. Under most global transparency initiatives, data sent to regulatory bodies is made public, so it must be accurate. Pre-disclosure is one tool that can be used to facilitate that effort. Since the release of Open Payments data (and even before with ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs), local media outlets have featured stories about which doctors in their state or locality are receiving the most money from the industry. Pre-disclosure is one way to help HCPs be prepared for the information that will be released about them.

In addition, HCPs that have relationships with public medical institutions are required to disclose their relationships with industry companies. Discrepancies between what an HCP reports to a medical institution and what is disclosed through Open Payments or other transparency initiatives can be problematic for these HCPs. Pre-disclosure gives HCPs the opportunity to ensure that what they’ve reported, or will report, to these institutions aligns with what is disclosed to the public. Pre-disclosure demonstrates a true partnership between the company and the HCP.

2: It helps a company proactively address discrepancies . Pre-disclosing spend information throughout a reporting year allows for queries and disputed transactions to be addressed prior to any review period required by regulators. In fact, under Open Payments and the Medicines Australia’s Code of Conduct, the required review period is relatively short considering the volume of transactions open to dispute. Granted, wholesale  disputes of data are highly unlikely, however, just one or two disputes, multiplied  over an HCP universe of hundreds of practitioners, add up quickly. Spreading those disputes over time is a more effective approach.

3: It’s good customer service. During CBI’s 9th Annual Aggregate Spend and Transparency Forum, two panelists from the American Medical Association Board of Trustees noted that physicians were most concerned about accurate data being released to the public. The panelists emphasized that providing a website for physicians to review spend data prior to the Open Payments review period would help in alleviate those concerns.

For a reportable recipient, spend transparency initiatives are akin to consumer credit reporting. Information is being shared about their business relationships, yet they aren’t really part of the collection and data release process. Some transparency initiatives require a review period for reportable recipients, but reportable recipients then need to review a large amount of data at once, potentially from multiple sources. Pre-disclosure allows reportable recipients to review smaller chunks of spend data over time, rather than during a single short window. This helps customers better manage what they can control . That’s good customer service.

The bottom line: pre-disclosure is a good idea because it benefits the company responsible for reporting and the HCPs about whom information is being reported. When spend data is pre-disclosed,  HCPs have the opportunity to review that data for accuracy before it is submitted to regulatory agencies and the company is presented with a valuable opportunity to engage in a critical and proactive conversation with its HCP partners.

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