Medicare Agency Signals More Deregulation This Year

The White House appears to be signaling greater Medicare regulatory relief this year, much to hospitals’ delight.

However, not everyone is jumping for joy.

The Medicare agency submitted a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget in early February that aims to reduce Medicare regulations that the agency describes as “unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome.”

The main change would be to health-care providers’ conditions of participation and conditions for coverage. However, a full proposal from the agency has not been released, and no details are available on specific regulatory changes to the terms of conditions. Regardless, hospitals are looking forward to reduced compliance requirements.

Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association, said most regulations are necessary, but many are costly and time-consuming, and end up doing more harm than good.

“It turns out the conditions of participation is one of the heaviest lifts for hospitals in terms of needing resources for compliance and recertification,” she told me. “Staff, including doctors, nurses, and even hospital engineers, need to be involved in making sure compliance is met, and that takes a lot of effort.”

But not everyone is looking forward to the proposed rule. David A. Lipschutz, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, told me he’s concerned about deregulation within Medicare based on requests for information from the agency.

“We’ve seen a lot of requests for information and feedback over the past year that have included a lot of open-ended questions on how to reduce burden,” he told me. “It seems like a fishing expedition.”

Read my full article here.

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