CMS finalizes omnibus paperwork reduction rule

CMS has issued a final rule to reduce paperwork burdens for hospitals and other healthcare providers through its Omnibus Burden Reduction.

According to the agency, the final rule removes unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome health regulations, saving providers an estimated 4.4 million hours spent on paperwork annually. The savings projections over the next 10 years are approximately $10 billion.

The final rule actually encompasses three rules that were published separately when proposed, but CMS finalized the together “for administrative efficiency” and transparency. It includes provisions from the Omnibus Burden Reduction; Hospital and Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Changes to Promote Innovation, Flexibility and Improvement in Patient Care; and Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Dialysis Facilities.

“In my trips across the country, I’ve heard time and again that unnecessary regulations are increasing costs on providers and they are losing time with patients as a result,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a comment. “This final rule brings a common sense approach to reducing regulations and gives providers more time to care for their patients, while reducing administrative costs and improving health outcomes.”

Verma has focused on paperwork reduction since coming into her role at CMS, and the agency held more than 100 listening sessions across the U.S. with the healthcare community and sought out feedback on the proposals.

Among the changes in the omnibus provisions, CMS reduced regulations around emergency preparedness and more flexibilities to hospitals, as well as other providers including home health, hospices and transplant centers. Within the Hospital and Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Changes to Promote Innovation rule, CMS outlined numerous regulations for hospitals and CAH swing-bed providers, including a focus on developing an integrated Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program.

The third rule looks at “burdensome rules” on required activities, including allowing for X-rays to be transmitted electronically rather than being written and signed. Other duplicative requirements were nullified, according to CMS.

See the final rule here.