CMS asks for input in efforts to reduce paperwork

CMS wants to reduce the paperwork burden for the healthcare industry and is asking for stakeholder input on its initiative, Patients over Paperwork, the agency announced June 6.

The request for information (RFI) seeks new ideas from the public to cut red tape that "weighs down” the healthcare system and takes doctors away from face time with patients, according to the announcement. The paperwork reduction initiative launched in 2017, and CMS estimates its regulatory reforms in both final and proposed rules will save an estimated 40 million hours and $5.7 billion through 2021.

The comment period for the RFI runs until August 12, 2019.

In particular, the agency is looking for public input on requirements for: reporting and documentation, which have been linked to clinician burnout; coding for Medicare and Medicaid payments; prior authorization; policies for rural institutions and beneficiaries; dually enrolled policies; beneficiary enrollment and eligibility determination; and the processes CMS uses for new regulations and policies.

“We are doubling down on efforts to decrease healthcare costs by reducing administrative burden,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “In removing what doesn’t add value, we’re making room for what does. Our goal is to ensure that doctors are spending more time with their patients and less time in administrative tasks.”

In addition to the RFI, CMS has been gathering other feedback on paperwork reduction, including listening sessions and on-site meetings with clinicians, patients and healthcare staff, the agency stated. CMS has received input from more than 2,000 stakeholders in 23 states, and the agency has addressed or is in the process of addressing 83% of actionable areas identified through its 2017 RFI.

See the 2019 RFI here.