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CMS proposes abandoning obsolete regulations, saving $700 million annually

Article

Abandoning unnecessary or obsolete Medicare regulations could save almost $700 million each year, according to a new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Abandoning unnecessary and obsolete or Medicare regulations could save almost $700 million each year, according to a new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The rule was created in response to President Barack Obama’s request that federal agencies work toward streamlining business regulations.

“We are committed to cutting the red tape for healthcare facilities, including rural providers,” says U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “By eliminating outdated or overly burdensome requirements, hospitals and healthcare professionals can focus on treating patients.”

The proposed rule is designed to help healthcare providers operate more efficiently by getting rid of regulations that are outdated or unneeded and could save $3.4 billion over the next 5 years. Many of the rule’s provisions streamline the standards physicians must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs without jeopardizing beneficiary safety, CMS says.

Some of the changes proposed in the rule include a provision to reduce the burden on small critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, and federally qualified health centers by eliminating a requirement that a physician maintain an “excessively prescriptive” schedule for being onsite once every 2 weeks. Other changes include eliminating the requirement that ambulatory surgical centers must meet to provide radiological services, giving them greater flexibility for physician supervision requirements, and abandoning a redundant data submission requirement for an unnecessary survey process for transplant centers.

CMS previously issued final rules in May that abandoned other regulations deemed burdensome and unnecessary. That rule already has saved almost $1.1 billion in its first year and is projected to save $5 billion over the next 5 years, according to CMS.

See the proposed rule here, and review the May 2012 rule here.

 

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health