The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today held the third in a series of hearings on how to reduce health care costs, which focused on reducing administrative spending.
 
“According to the American Hospital Association, there are 629 different regulatory requirements from four different federal agencies that doctors, hospitals and other health care providers have to comply with,” said Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), citing a 2017 AHA report that found non-clinical regulatory requirements cost providers nearly $39 billion a year and divert clinicians from patient care.
 
For an average-sized community hospital, this equates to $7.5 million a year or $1,200 every time a patient is admitted to a hospital, witness Becky Hultberg, president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, told the committee.
 
“We appreciate recent work done by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in addressing regulatory burden, such as the ‘Meaningful Measures’ initiative and changes to the Promoting Interoperability Program, but given the volume and complexity of new and existing federal regulation and the pace of regulatory change, more work remains to be done,” Hultberg said. “… Some examples for consideration include Medicare Conditions of Participation for hospitals; the Promoting Interoperability Program; Stark Law and civil monetary penalties; and reforms in post-acute care.”
 
Also testifying at the hearing were a representative from America’s Health Insurance Plans, a Harvard University economics professor, and an advisor to the American Action Forum.