Hospitals, health systems and post-acute care providers spend nearly $39 billion a year on administrative activities related to regulatory compliance, according to a study released yesterday by the AHA.

The average-sized hospital spends $7.6 million annually to comply with federal regulations, equal to $1,200 every time a patient is admitted, and dedicates 59 full-time equivalents to the task, more than one-quarter of whom are health professionals who would otherwise be caring for patients, the study found.

 “There is growing frustration for those on the front lines providing care in a system that often forces them to spend more time pushing paper rather than treating patients,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Too often, these regulatory requirements seem detached from good and efficient patient care. The regulatory burden is substantial and unsustainable, and reducing the administrative complexity of health care would allow providers to spend more time on patients, not paperwork.”

Joining AHA leaders for a Capitol Hill briefing today on the study, and how Congress and the administration could immediately ease the regulatory burden, were Andrew Thomas, M.D., chief medical officer for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; Katie Boston-Leary, president of the Maryland Organization of Nurse Leaders and chief nursing officer at Union Hospital in Elkton, MD; and Mark Hayes, senior vice president of federal policy and advocacy for Ascension.

To access the study, and infographics on the key findings, visit