AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Tuesday, find out if your doctor is getting paid by medical firms

Are doctors being influenced by payments, gifts or meals they get from medical manufacturers? Lawmakers wanted to discourage that, so as part of the Affordable Care Act they passed the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, requiring makers of medical devices, biologicals, medical supplies and drugs to report payments to physicians and teaching hospitals. Tuesday, Sept. 30, that information is to be released for the first time on the new Open Payments website.

Doctors and medical companies are bracing for the big reveal. The American Medical Association has advised doctors to be prepared for questions from patients and the news media. And industry groups have contested various requirements of the law and sought exceptions, and as late as August were raising concerns about the integrity of the information and days ago arguing that the website should provide "contextual information" about the payments.

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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.