The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released a proposed rule to reduce health care provider regulatory burden associated with certain Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation and Conditions for Coverage.
 
At an event at MedStar Washington Hospital Center today, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack discussed the importance of regulatory relief to allow hospitals and health systems to focus on delivering high-quality care and improving patients’ access to services. “The simple truth is the regulatory burden hospitals face is substantial and unsustainable, and can be overwhelming,” he said. “CMS’s commitment to reduce the regulatory burden is crucially needed as we strive to meet the increasingly complex needs of our patients and accelerate efforts to reduce costs. The AHA and our members look forward to continuing working with CMS to ensure that we have more responsible and reasonable regulations that reflect the realities that doctors and nurses face on the front lines to enable them to provide care in an effective and efficient way.”
 
At the event, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the rule, which applies to providers across the care continuum, was “intended to ease the burden of regulation while ensuring that we maintain a focus on integrity, quality and safety.”
 
Specifically, today’s rule would make changes in the following areas:

  • Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement and Infection Control Programs – would allow health systems to use a unified/central staff across multiple hospitals instead of having individual staff for each separately certified hospital.
  • Emergency Preparedness – would revise requirements for annual reviews of emergency preparedness programs to allow facilities to instead review their plans at least every two years.
  • Critical Access Hospital and Hospital Swing-bed Providers – would remove some requirements for providers including employing social workers full time, assisting residents with obtaining routine and 24-hour emergency dental care, and providing ongoing activity programs.
  • Home Health Agencies – would remove requirement that home health agencies provide a copy of clinical records to patients by the next visit.
  •  Ambulatory Surgical Centers – would remove requirements for ASCs to perform pre-surgical assessments and instead defer to the operating physician’s judgment to ensure that patients are assessed appropriately.
  • Transplant Centers – would take steps to increase the availability of organs.