CMS Issues Regs To Reduce Red Tape

The Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday released three regulations designed to make it easier for hospitals and doctors to work efficiently as part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to cut red-tape across the federal government.

Taken together the regulations could save hospitals and health care providers close to $1.1 billion annually and more than $5 billion in five years, according to HHS.  The regulations are:

  • a proposed rule that would revise the conditions of participation that hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid,
  • a proposed rule that would eliminate various duplicative or outdated requirements for  groups such as end-stage renal disease facilities and durable medical equipment suppliers, and
  • a final rule that revises the health and safety standards ambulatory surgical centers must meet to participate in Medicare.

The bulk of the projected savings come from the changes in the conditions of participation for hospitals and critical care hospitals. The changes—such as allowing a multi-hospital system to have a single governing body or permitting non-physician providers to take on greater responsibility as defined by state law—are expected to save $900 million in the first year, according to HHS.

Donald Berwick, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the changes will free up doctors and hospitals to focus on providing quality patient care rather than spending time on paperwork. Officials told reporters that the changes are not expected to cost jobs.

In August, HHS released its regulatory review plan, which stems from an executive order calling on all federal agencies to examine the effects of existing regulations.