Analysis of Open Payments Receipts Among Surgical Faculty at a Large Academic Institution

Academic Article


  • Background: Section 6002 of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “The Sunshine Act,” is legislation designed to provide transparency to the relationship between physicians and industry. Since 2013, medical product and pharmaceutical manufacturers were required to report any payments made to physicians to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We predicted that most clinical faculty at our institution would be found on the Open Payments website. We elected to investigate payments in relationship to divisions within the department of surgery and the level of professorship. Methods: All clinical faculty (n = 86) within the department of surgery at our institution were searched within the database: The total amount of payments, number of payments, and the nature of payments (food and beverage, travel and lodging, consulting, education, speaking, entertainment, gifts and honoraria) were recorded for 2017. Comparison by unpaired t-test (or ANOVA) where applicable, significance defined as P < 0.05. Results: Of the 86 faculty studied, 75% were found within the CMS Open Payments database in 2017. The mean amount of payment was $4024 (range $13-152,215). Median amount of payment was $434.90 (range $12.75-152,214.70). Faculty receiving outside compensation varied significantly by division and academic rank (P < 0.05). Plastic surgery had the highest percentage of people receiving any form of payment ($143-$1912) and GI surgery had the largest payments associated with device management ($0-$152,215). The variation seen by rank was driven by a small number of faculty with receipt of large payments at the associate professor level. The median amount of payment was $428.53 (range $13.97-2306.05) for assistant professors, $5328.03 (range $28.30-152,214.70) for Associate Professors, and $753.82 (range $12.75-17,708.65) for full professors. Conclusions: Reporting of open payments to CMS provides transparency between physicians and industry. The significant relationship of division and rank with open payments database is driven by relatively few faculty. The majority (94%) received either no payments or less than $10,000.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fazendin JM; Corey BL; Heslin MJ; Chen H
  • Start Page

  • 599
  • End Page

  • 603
  • Volume

  • 244