Thompson Announces HHS Regulatory Reform Committee
To address federal regulations that often overburden physicians with "[t]oo much paperwork," HHS has created the Advisory Committee on Regulatory Reform, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson writes in a Miami Herald opinion piece. While "some rules are important to our success," others "serve little purpose, discourage efficiency and deplete the time and energy of health care providers," Thompson states. The committee, composed of doctors, nurses, consumer advocates and other health care professionals, will aim to "improve health care for patients and consumers by reducing the regulatory burden" while "maintaining or improving high standards of accountability and quality," Thompson writes. According to Thompson, the committee will address a "broad range" of regulatory issues for research, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and hospital and clinic practices. Thompson states, "We want to free up our talented and dedicated health care professionals ... from the burdens of paperwork to do what they do best: provide the highest quality health care in the world."
Thompson says that the committee will not "focus on recommending changes to existing laws" but rather will look at "how the implementation of current law can be made more efficient, more streamlined and less cumbersome." The committee will hold hearings throughout the year -- the first meeting will be held Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 in Miami -- to get input from "people with front-line experience as health care providers and consumers," Thompson says. In addition, the committee will accept public comments on regulatory issues, and the committee's final recommendations will be submitted in the fall. In the meantime, Thompson said the committee will report proposals to him throughout the year, and "[w]hen a proposal is sound, and I have the administrative authority to make changes, they will be made." Thompson concludes, "By applying common sense, we will improve the quality and accountability of our health care system. The committee provides all of us an opportunity to do our part toward this goal. Citizens at large and trained professionals alike can give their input. The committee will listen, and I will act" (Thompson, Miami Herald, 2/20).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.