On Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposal to relieve healthcare providers of Medicare’s unnecessary compliance burdens.
According to the CMS press release, the updates would save healthcare providers approximately $1.12 billion annually.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma attributed this modernization of the Medicare system to an initiative that puts patients over paperwork and removes outdated requirements that may hinder quality of care.
Some key changes include improving the efficiency of organ transplants by removing the requirement that tasks transplant programs with submitting data more than once so Medicare can “re-approve” it. CMS says this would reduce the number of organs that go unused due to the lengthy process. According to an UNOS study, someone is added to the national transplant list every ten minutes.
The following are additional provisions included in the rule proposal:
- Streamline hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center requirements for conducting comprehensive medical histories and physical assessments.
- Allow multi-hospital systems to have unified and integrated Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement programs for all of their member hospitals.
- Simplify the ordering process for portable x-rays and modernize the personnel requirements for portable x-ray technologists.
- Remove duplicative ownership disclosure requirements for Critical Access Hospitals.
Check out CMS’ fact sheet on the rule.
Between 2018 and 2021 there are expected savings of $5.2 billion and burden hours are estimated to be reduced by 53 million hours during that period. Hospitals would save the most money, according to CMS; and clinicians will be saving the most time in the four-year period.
A study done by Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that two hours of paperwork follow every hour a provider spends with a patient. In efforts to reduce these burdensome and redundant tasks, CMS launched their Meaningful Measures initiative. Read more about the program, at CMS.
“…We all know that at times regulations can get in the way of innovation and can actually drive up costs, and the rising costs of our healthcare system are unsustainable,” said Seema Verma in a speech on Monday, “…The answer is not to ration care, or limit access. But to continue to innovate, reduce inefficiency and to drive to a system that delivers value, one that delivers high quality care and better outcomes for patients at the lowest possible cost.”
Watch Verma’s speech here.
CMS has claimed to have addressed 55 percent of the burdensome requirements providers and others have brought to their attention. Another 16 percent are still being considered.
The agency will be accepting comments until Nov. 19.
For more information on key measures, read Beckers Hospital Review’s article.