Providers Call HCFA Regulations Burdensome
Paperwork and the "burdens" of complying with HCFA regulations have "overwhelmed" some care providers, representatives of provider groups told the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee yesterday in the subcommittee's second hearing on Medicare reform, CongressDaily/A.M. reports. Democrats on the subcommittee "reminded" providers that the "burdens are comparable, if not lighter, than those placed on them by private insurers," CongressDaily/A.M. reports. However, Gary Mecklenburg of the American Hospital Association said that claims processing under Medicare "is worse" than it is in the private sector, and Susan Wilson of the National Association for Home Care added, "In the private sector, we definitely have our problems. But we can seek resolution with them in terms of care ... This is not so with HCFA." American Medical Association President-elect Richard Corlin testified that processing claims is burdensome in both Medicare and private health plans but still asked congressional members to support the Medicare Education and Regulatory Fairness Act (HR 868), which would "give providers more recourse to battle with the agency." Corlin said, "Passage of this legislation, independent of any HCFA reform efforts, would send a clear message to HCFA and its contractors that Congress wants them to focus on educating physicians and providers about how to bill correctly, rather than to conduct heavy-handed audits of already submitted claims." According to an analysis released yesterday by Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), the act would "provide unscrupulous providers a road map with clear directions about how to bill the program" (Fulton/Rovner, CongressDaily/A.M., 3/16).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.