Watch the video

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma today discussed a number of efforts underway at the agency, including many to reduce regulatory burdens on providers. 
 
“We recognize that some regulations are necessary to ensure patient safety, quality and program integrity, but many are redundant, ineffective and have a negative effect on patient care by taking providers away from their primary mission – improving their patients’ health outcomes,” Verma said. 
 
She discussed the agency’s proposal to implement the Meaningful Measures initiative, which would remove 18 measures from the inpatient quality reporting program and “de-duplicate” 21 measures, meaning that they would be used in only one program rather than multiple programs. 
 
Verma also said the agency is considering actions to provide relief from the Stark Law. 

“We intend to leave in place the law’s important protections for our beneficiaries and for the [Medicare] Trust Fund, while not penalizing providers who are taking brave steps away from fee-for-service,” she said. 
 
Last year, AHA released a report that found non-clinical regulatory requirements cost providers nearly $39 billion a year and divert clinicians from patient care. 
 
Meanwhile, Verma said the agency is continuing to “move away from a fee-for-service approach to a system that is value-based and that rewards value over volume.” 

[For additional highlights from the AHA Annual Membership meeting, click here.] 

She discussed a number of key initiatives the agency will unveil this year, including developing new payment models through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Those models will focus on, among other areas, innovative ways to pay for drugs, primary care and conditions with serious medical conditions, and promoting competition in Medicare Advantage, Verma said. 
 
In addition, Verma spoke about the need to address the rising cost of prescription drugs, which she said is important to President Trump. He is expected to make a major speech soon on the issue. 
 
“When patients cannot afford their medication, adherence goes down and patients get sicker,” Verma said. “Life-saving treatments don’t mean anything if a patient can’t afford them.” 

Related News Articles

Perspective
Last week, I shared a few areas where we can advance health in America this year, even in a divided Congress.
Headline
Continued rising drug prices, as well as shortages for many critical medications, are disrupting patient care and forcing hospitals to delay infrastructure and…
Perspective
We’re 11 days into 2019 … we’ve returned to a divided government …and the partial government shutdown continues.
Insights and Analysis
Also in this weekly roundup of health news: AHA president and CEO Rick Pollack speaks to HealthLeaders about the association’s year ahead; digital health…
Headline
As Congress prioritizes action to lower drug prices, the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing yesterday announced a website to help lawmakers and their staff…
Headline
AHA commends the Centers for Medicare…