AHA today urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to release long-awaited guidance to help hospitals and health systems interpret Medicare’s conditions of participation, or develop alternative approaches to keep them informed and updated about compliance. “We appreciate the intent of the President’s recent executive order outlining when the use of agency guidance is appropriate, but believe guidance still plays an important role in the health care field,” AHA wrote. “Our members rely on CMS to meet its obligation to communicate expectations for hospitals and health systems.” For example, AHA said a “lack of meaningful clarity” on ligature risk and hospital co-location “has resulted in confusion, missed opportunities to improve patient access and care, unnecessary expenses, and an unpredictable forecast for how the agency intends to proceed.”

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