It may be the dog days of summer, but things aren’t looking so hot for the rollout of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Open Payments Web site. In fact, CMS had to temporarily shut down the system docs are to use to verify the payments drug and device companies have reported spending on them in 2013. Open Payments, formerly known as the Sunshine Act provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, requires pharma and device companies to report transfers of value—including meals and honoraria—they make to U.S. docs and teaching hospitals. The Web site was shut down for 11 days before it went back online August 14, according to The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalog blog.

Here’s why the verification system had to be taken offline, according to a report from healthcare watchdog site ProPublica:

ProPublica brought the issue to CMS' attention on Friday [August 1] after Louisville, Kentucky, electrophysiologist David E. Mann logged in to the Open Payments system to verify his payment record. In addition to seeing his own records, he saw payments to another David E. Mann, an oncologist in Crestview, Florida. Mann shared screenshots with ProPublica and wrote a blog post about it.

According to CMS:

“We believe this problem is limited to a small number of physicians and we are working to fully assess and correct the issue,” CMS said in a written statement. “In the interim, we do not want physicians to see data which does not belong to them, so we are temporarily suspending Open Payments registration. We will also work with the responsible companies to make them aware of the issue and correct the root data.”

At the time of the shutdown, CMS said that it will extend the deadline for docs to review their data and dispute any errors before the database goes public on September 30 for as many days as the system is down. The review period originally was scheduled to run from July 14 to August 27. Pharma and device companies then had 15 days to correct its reporting before the database goes public. According to a statement by CMS released after the site was put back online:

"Physicians and teaching hospitals may now resume registration, review and, as needed, dispute activities, and will have until September 8, 2014, to complete this process. This date accounts for all the days the system was offline to provide physicians and teaching hospitals with 45 days total to review and dispute their payment data. After the close of the 45-day period, industry will have an additional 15 days to resolve remaining disputes directly with the physician and teaching hospital and re-report any data that is changed."

The public launch is still slated for September 30.