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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Representing the 4th District of OREGON

Burgess, DeFazio Introduce Bill to Ensure Doctors Have Access to Educational Materials

Jan 13, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today introduced bipartisan legislation to allow physicians full access to the most up-to-date educational materials like textbooks and journals so they may deliver the best care.

The Protect Continuing Physician Education and Patient Care Act, H.R. 293, is in response to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act’s unintended consequence of over-burdensome reporting requirements that made access to educational materials for physicians difficult to obtain.

The Sunshine Act was intended to make payments to physicians more transparent. The bill, which was a part of the Affordable Care Act, included 12 specific exclusions from the reporting requirement in order to ensure that medical practices and patient care would not be harmed. But in recent rules, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determined that both continuing medical education events and the distribution of medical textbooks and peer-reviewed journals were subject to reporting, making them less accessible to physicians.

This bill will minimize the negative impacts of the Sunshine Act by making these important materials exempt from reporting requirements.

“As someone who practiced medicine for nearly 30 years, I can attest that the assessments, treatments and procedures I learned in medical school were outdated by the end of my career with new advances in medicine,” Burgess said. “As doctors, we are constantly studying new treatments and learning about new illnesses that did not exist even a few years ago. Without access to these materials, it could mean the difference between life and death of our patients. As a physician, I cannot allow that to happen. Our bill ensures it doesn’t have to.”

“This bipartisan bill is about putting patients first,” DeFazio said. “While the Sunshine Act that Congress passed in 2010 is an absolutely essential tool to shine the light on the relationship between the pharmaceutical companies and physicians, our bill ensures the Sunshine Act won’t restrict a physician’s access to the latest medical research and training. This common sense fix is a win for America’s doctors and continuing medical education, but most importantly, for patients.”

The Protect Continuing Physician Education and Patient Care Act has been supported by 128 different organizations.

“Specialty physicians depend on the latest medical journals and peer-reviewed data to ensure quality care and positive patient outcomes, Dr. Alex Valadka from the Alliance of Specialty Medicine said. “We thank Congressman Burgess for introducing legislation to ensure that the Affordable Care Act will not hamper access to independent educational materials, which clearly benefit the patients we treat.”

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