Could New Connecticut Aggregate Spend Law Signal Trend For Other States?

By Ben Carmel

The announcement by the State of Connecticut that its aggregate spend reporting law will take effect in October of this year, with first reports due by January 1, 2015, merits close watching.

The fact that it will only cover nurse practitioners and other types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) licensed and practicing in Connecticut, while a first for the state, is not unique to the category as other states with aggregate spend laws also cover nurses. The bigger potential trend, is that that given Connecticut’s focus along with a slew of other states that have done something similar, are states purposely expanding into new covered recipient areas that aren’t within the scope of the Federal Sunshine Law just to place a particularly unique stamp on their own version of the law? One of the best pieces of evidence of this may be Minnesota’s enactment last year of aggregate spend legislation that went substantially beyond specialized categories of nurses but also encompassed nurse practitioners, physician assistants, veterinarians and, even, dental therapists.

Like the Federal Sunshine Act, there are at least a couple of areas around Connecticut’s law that life sciences manufacturers will find a bit murky. First, it states that all payments/TOVs need to be accounted for and reported except those that were made to a covered recipient, in this case an APRN, that a company didn’t know about because they were transacted through a third party. We hope Connecticut provides further guidance on this, so a minimum reporting threshold can be established. Until then, we strongly recommend investigating and tracking every possible payment and payment channel where an APRN may have been engaged.

Secondly, at this point in time, no guidance has been given about the reporting format, so there is no clarity about what transactional information to report. As a matter of fact, the office of the Connecticut Commissioner of Public Health, is still formulating the format. Again, a very wise idea to comprehensively capture every aspect of APRN engagements and payments in Connecticut until a reporting template is announced.

With penalties currently established at $1,000 to $4,000 for any payments missed in any report not submitted and the state’s Public Health office already suggesting it may publicize manufacturer submitted reports on their website, inventorying and capturing every APRN-sponsored activity in Connecticut now will be the smartest move you can make.