May 7, 2012 – The federal government is putting off, until 2013, a key provision of the country’s healthcare overhaul that’s designed to shed light on the financial relationships between doctors, pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently announced that it needs more time to implement the provision in order to give those reporting organizations time to prepare, and for the agency to read through the more than 300 public comments it received.

In a blog post, CMS said delay of the provision, which was included as section 6002 in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, will give it time to address operational and implementation issues in a thoughtful manner and to ensure the accuracy of the data that is collected.

The act requires companies to record physician payments worth more than $10 in 2012 and to report them on March 31, 2013. Payments include: stock options, research grants, consulting fees and travel to medical conferences. Details of these offerings will be posted on the web starting Sept. 30, 2013.

One of the sponsors of the act, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said it was imperative that consumers know more about the financial relationships between their doctors and drug companies.

Pew Health Group reported that direct marketing by the pharmaceutical industry to medical professionals is estimated at $20 billion to $57 billion a year.

CMS said it plans to release the final rule later this year.