Reducing administrative complexity in health care would save billions of dollars annually and allow providers to spend more time on patients, not paperwork. That’s what the AHA told

the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services earlier this week in a letter calling for regulatory relief. 

We said there are a number of steps the agency can take now to remove regulatory barriers to better care. They range from cancelling Stage 3 meaningful use requirements for electronic health records to prohibiting the enforcement of direction supervision requirements in critical access and small or rural hospitals.

The men and women who work in America’s hospitals and health systems strive to keep pace with thousands and thousands of pages and rules that govern Medicare and Medicaid. But they are frustrated with a system that often forces them to spend more time pushing paper than treating patients. Too often, these regulatory requirements seem detached from good care and efficient resources. The burden is simply too heavy – at the expense of patient care.

To be sure, we’ve made headway in persuading the government that too much of the regulatory morass we deal with is complex, redundant and, in some cases, defies common sense. We appreciate that CMS has over the past few months provided some important regulatory relief to the field, like pausing the onerous home health pre-claim review demonstration, proposing a 12-month moratorium on the outdated long term care hospital 25% rule, and calling for a 90-day reporting period for the meaningful use program for fiscal year 2018, among other examples.

But much more work needs to be done in addressing health care regulations that are too complex and inefficient. With your support, the AHA will build on what’s been accomplished thus far and continue working for a regulatory process that won’t put paperwork and red tape between you and your patients.

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