Hospitals Want HHS to Ease Up on Regulatory Burdens


 

The Trump administration should take specific steps to reduce the regulatory burden on hospitals, an industry group said in a May 17 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

The Federation of American Hospitals, which represents investor-owned hospitals, called for changes in numerous areas, including suspending the hospital quality ratings system and readjusting bundled payment programs. Other hospital groups have asked the administration for similar actions in recent months.

Ivy Baer, senior director and regulatory counsel at the Association of American Medical Colleges, told me she agreed with the FAH’s recommendation for a new hospital ratings system, and that, “the info in the current rating system doesn’t give patients the best knowledge to make the best decisions.” Under the current system, hospitals are given between one and five stars depending on how well they scored on dozens of quality measures, such as emergency room waiting times.

The FAH’s letter cited the Feb. 24 executive order by President Donald Trump, ordering a reduction in “unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.”

Lisa Tofil, an attorney at Holland & Knight in Washington, told me the Trump administration has been very open and receptive to input from the hospital sector. “It seems they really welcome people’s ideas on how to improve efficiency and reduce costs,” she said. “Any regulatory relief that could be provided would be helpful, especially from the provider side.”

The FAH also recommended the CMS permanently end the controversial home-health demonstration, a program intended to reduce home-health fraud in states that have historically seen high levels of fraud.

William Dombi, vice president for law at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, told me that ending the home-health pre-claim “would save Medicare a few hundred million dollars.” Dombi is a Bloomberg BNA advisory board member.

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