Thompson, Scully Lay Out CMS Improvements
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Thomas Scully told the Senate Finance Committee yesterday that they have "big plans for the agency," including "streamlin[ing]" its bookkeeping systems, CongressDaily reports. Thompson said it would take about three years centralize the agency's 81 different computer systems, "many of which cannot communicate with each other." To help doctors and hospitals better understand new regulations, Thompson and Scully said that they plan to issue a "compendium" at the start of each quarter in which "they will list each rule and guidance they expect to publish" in the upcoming quarter. Scully said, "This way we won't get any more surprises and every provider in the country won't have to hire a lawyer to read the Federal Register everyday." Thompson that said he has "established a new system for responding to requests for information and promised to clear away all backlogged correspondence by July 1." He added that he has signed "a record" 600 Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program waivers, providing states with "more flexibility" to implement their programs. But despite their push to improve CMS -- the agency formerly known as HCFA -- Thompson and Scully said additional resources were needed if the department is going to "take on more responsibility" (Fulton, CongressDaily, 6/19).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.