At the urging of the American Medical Association, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it is eliminating a rule that some physicians feel has contributed to the US opioid addiction epidemic. Starting in 2017, patients at outpatient facilities will no longer be asked whether they got sufficient pain management. CMS announced other changes as well.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has eliminated a requirement that patients be surveyed on whether they got enough pain medication—a well-intentioned question that had the unintended consequence of sometimes making physicians feel pressure to prescribe opioids.
Under the existing system, Medicare rewards physicians and healthcare facilities financially if they score well on measures of quality.
Those questions and criteria are part of the CMS Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System.
At the AMA’s House of Delegates meeting in Chicago, IL in June, 2016, delegates and AMA leaders pressed CMS to change some of those rules. Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of CMS attended the meeting and in a speech pledged he would do so.
CMS announced other changes in regulations that met with AMA approval.
The AMA today, in a statement from AMA President Andrew Gurman, MD (photo), said the organization is pleased that it was heard.
“CMS understands that these policies effect how physicians practice medicine and how patients receive treatment,” said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD. “By listening to our concerns, CMS made clear that patient care was the top priority. We look forward to continuing to work with CMS to improve patient health and enhance access to affordable quality care.”
In a news release, the AMA summarized what it likes in the CMS announcements, listing the following “notable policy changes” made by CMS, which will be effective in 2017:
The OPPS /ASC Final Rule and IFC are available on the Federal Register . The CMS newsroom has a fact sheet on the final rule..
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