Physician survey reveals greatest CMS concerns

May 11, 2011

You and many of your fellow physicians find many federal regulations to be burdensome, inconsistent and unnecessary. At least that?s what you told the American Medical Association (AMA) in a recent survey on the most onerous rules.

 

You and many of your fellow physicians find many federal regulations to be burdensome, inconsistent, and unnecessary. At least that’s what you told the American Medical Association (AMA) in a recent survey on the most onerous rules.

Topping the list of complaints were unfunded federal mandates, such as providing translators for Medicare and Medicaid patients with hearing impairments and poor English, and Medicare documentation requirements. Close behind were the elimination of Medicare payments for physician consultations, and inconsistencies and incompatibilities in quality initiatives, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System, e-prescribing, and meaningful use of electronic health records.

“Thousands of physicians have answered the AMA’s call to identify federal rules and regulations that create a significant burden for their practices and take up time that is better spent with patients,” says AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD. “Physicians’ top concerns . . . offer a road map for CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to make strategic changes that benefit the entire Medicare system.”

Rawson Griffin, MD, a family physician and geriatrician in Jacksonville, Florida, says the federal regulations he finds most burdensome are those limiting the use of restraints and sedation in nursing homes.

“The government needed to put an end to a lot of abuses. The problem is that when the government reacts to a problem it tends to overstep in the other direction,” he says. “We have patients totally out of control that by regulation we are not able to help because we cannot give them certain medications or physically restrain them. So they get sent to the hospital at a huge expense to taxpayers and in the hospital they can do whatever is needed to protect and restrain the patient for the patient’s own good.”

The AMA survey of more than 2,000 physicians was carried out in response to President Barack Obama’s executive order directing all government agencies to identify rules that might be ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. The AMA has sent the survey results to CMS along with suggested fixes.

See a copy of the letter here.