CMS proposes cutting more regulations

As part of its Patients Over Paperwork initiative, CMS has proposed another round of “red tape” cuts for healthcare providers that could reduce some burdens and loosen regulations across healthcare settings.

The updates will save healthcare providers $1.12 billion annually. Coupled with other actions the agency has taken in 2017 and 2018, including final and proposed rules, the agency’s new policies could save an estimated $5.2 billion.

“We are committed to putting patients over paperwork, while at the same time increasing the quality of care and ensuring patient safety and bolstering program integrity,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “With this proposed rule, CMS takes a major step forward in its efforts to modernize the Medicare program by removing regulations that are outdated and burdensome. The changes we’re proposing will dramatically reduce the amount of time and resources that healthcare facilities have to spend on CMS-mandated compliance activities that do not improve the quality of care, so that hospitals and healthcare professionals can focus on their primary mission: treating patients.”

The agency stated that feedback from providers helped inform the proposal, including insights from clinicians.

The proposal has several measures that reduce regulations, including around emergency preparedness, despite natural disasters causing more damage in recent years. The proposal loosens testing, training and emergency planning requirements for providers. CMS stated the proposals will enable providers to spend more time and resources “on actual patient care.”

The proposal also eliminates several requirements for hospitals, critical access hospitals, rural health centers and federally qualified health centers. Ambulatory surgical centers will no longer have to meet admitting and transfer requirements that CMS states are duplicative in other regulations, nor meet 30-day assessment rules.

Several other healthcare settings, including rehab facilities, hospices, portable X-ray services, community mental health centers and transplant centers, will also see requirements slashed in an effort to streamline services and reduce administrative burdens.

Find the proposed rule here.