Does the Open Payments Database Provide Sunshine on Neurosurgery?

A presentation at the 2016 American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting


Newswise — Winner of the Byron Cone Pevehouse Young Neurosurgeons Award, Maya Babu, MD, presented her research, Does the Open Payments Database Provide Sunshine on Neurosurgery?, during the 2016 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting.

In 2014, the Open Payments Database (OPD) was launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Through this online, searchable database, the public can explore physician-industry interactions. Many of the payments have garnered high-profile media attention and are viewed with skepticism by the public. These value transfers also include research activity, textbooks and educational seminars. There is no published literature on the database for neurosurgeons. The authors searched 4.3 million records from 2013 and 11.41 million records from 2014 for board-certified neurosurgeons, verified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS). The time queried included all available records in the OPD from both 2013 and 2014.

Of the 1,607 physicians identified as neurosurgeons within the OPD in 2013, 1,210 were neurosurgeons and 397 were not. Of the entire OPD in 2013, there were 3,073 board-certified neurosurgeons with approximately 63,787 attributed records. Of the 1,841 physicians identified as neurosurgeons within the OPD in 2014, 1,465 were neurosurgeons and 376 were incorrectly identified. Of the entire OPD in 2014, there were 3,424 board-certified neurosurgeons with approximately 160,193 attributed records. The total payments to neurosurgeons in 2013 was $33,000,432.05; in 2014 it was $92,265,680.31.

While the OPD details physician interactions with industry, it suffers from multiple inaccuracies and a lack of appropriate context for value transfers. Publicly availing inaccurate information through a searchable governmental website has the potential to tarnish both individuals and the profession.

Author Block: Maya Babu, MD, MBA; Robert Heary, MD; Brian Nahed, MD, MSc (Rochester, Minn.)

Disclosure: The author reported no conflicts of interest.

Media Representatives: The 2016 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting press section will include releases on highlighted scientific research, AANS officers and award winners, Neurosurgery Awareness Month and other relevant information about the 2016 program. Releases will be posted under the “Media” area on the 2016 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting website. If you have interest in a topic related to neurosurgery or would like to interview a neurosurgeon — either onsite or via telephone — during the event, please contact Alice Kelsey, AANS associate executive director, via email at aik@aans.org.

About the 2016 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: Attended by neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents, medical students, neuroscience nurses, clinical specialists, physician assistants, allied health professionals and other medical professionals, the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting is the largest gathering of neurosurgeons in the nation, with an emphasis on the field’s latest research and technological advances. More than 1,200 scientific abstracts were submitted for the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting; the scientific presentations accepted for the 2016 event will represent cutting-edge examples of the incredible developments taking place within the field of neurosurgery. Additional information about the 2016 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and the meeting program can be found here.

Founded in 1931 as the Harvey Cushing Society, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is a scientific and educational association with more than 10,000 members worldwide. The AANS is dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery in order to provide the highest quality of neurosurgical care to the public. Fellows of the AANS are board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the Mexican Council of Neurological Surgery, A.C. Neurosurgery is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the spinal column, spinal cord, brain, nervous system and peripheral nerves.

For more information, visit www.AANS.org.

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