CMS Rolls Back Federal Hospital Regulations, Projects $5B in Savings
On Tuesday, CMS said it is eliminating several federal regulations for hospitals and similar facilities in a move that will save the industry $1.1 billion next year and $5 billion over five years, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The initiative reflects President Obama's push for federal agencies to reduce unnecessary regulations.
Details of New Rules
The new rules would allow:
- Hospitals in the same system to have their own governing boards;
- Nurse practitioners and other non-physicians to have more responsibilities (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/18);
- Smaller hospitals to outsource some lab tests and radiology tasks;
- Ambulatory surgery centers to perform surgeries on the same day patients are referred to the facilities (Fox, National Journal, 10/18);
- ASCs to eliminate time-consuming and unnecessary patient rights regulations; and
- ASCs to reduce the list of emergency equipment they are required to have (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 10/18).
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "Our new proposals eliminate unnecessary and obsolete standards and free up resources so hospitals and doctors can focus on treating patients" (Fox, National Journal, 10/18). She added, "The rules would also remove many outdated billing practices, saving physicians time and money" (Selyukh, Reuters, 10/18).
Federal officials said savings from the new proposals would result from health care workers spending more time on patient care and not from companies eliminating regulatory compliance jobs (Modern Healthcare, 10/18).
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, said the new rules do not make enough changes. He said, "[T]he thousands of pages of regulations that have come out with the [federal health reform law], and tens of thousands more on the way, undermine the administration's efforts to reduce burdensome regulations." He added, "[T]he best way to reduce costs, relieve regulatory burdens and create jobs is to repeal" the federal health reform law ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.