New initiative aims to reduce regulatory burdens

by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent,
MedPage Today

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration wants to give doctors more time with patients by rolling back the regulatory requirements foisted on physicians over the years.

“I’d like to think of regulatory reform in terms of painting a house,” said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Typically, repainting needs to occur every few years, and before you do it, you need to strip the layers of paint underneath,” she continued during a meeting with hospital, physician and other healthcare stakeholders held at the agency’s Washington office. “Unfortunately, during past administrations CMS has been simply applying new layers of paint without taking this essential step.”

Verma announced the launch of a “Patients over Paperwork” initiative, geared towards scrapping or reducing regulations while lowering healthcare costs and enhancing patient care.

“Regulations do have their role. They’re very important to assuring patient safety and quality and for program integrity, but there’s a fine line between being helpful and being a hindrance,” she said.

Over the last 5 years, the agency has released about 58 rules per year — the equivalent of 11,000 published manuscript pages, Verma continued.

She also highlighted providers’ frustration with reporting metrics into the electronic health records (EHR), asserting that currently, “the burden associated with reporting quality measures outweighs their utility.”

Verma told stakeholders they should expect to hear more news from the agency regarding efforts around “meaningful measurement.”

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, applauded the agency for the steps it had already taken to reduce the administrative burden on providers, such as making Stage Three of Meaningful Use requirements optional and shifting certain bundled payment programs to a voluntary basis.

Asked for specific recommendations to further reduce the burden on providers, Pollack suggested the following changes:

Read More About the Changes: https://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/medicare/68824