Medical meetings may have survived the economic downturn, but 2013 brings additional challenges to pharma meetings in the name of the Affordable Care Act. The most sweeping federal health care legislation since Medicare in the 1960s, this controversial law has dominated political debates ever since its 2009 passage. Because most provisions of the law go into full effect in 2014, for medical meeting planners, the challenge of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now.
On one hand, the legislation opens up an opportunity for planners to educate meeting attendees about this array of new regulations. However, a provision in the law called the National Physician Payment Transparency Program imposes strict guidelines regarding the reporting of company payments and transfers of value made to physicians — which of course includes spend data related to physician-attended meetings. “I see it — and have heard meeting professionals and the industry overall see it — as a burden, i.e., understanding requirements, building processes and systems, monitoring data,” says Lisa Keilty, CMP, vice president of PMC2, a health care consultancy firm specializing in planning meetings and other events for health care providers. “But I also see it as a positive in understanding how the health care industry needs the expertise and innovation of physicians and other health care professionals to continue improving and investing in medical breakthroughs.”