Healthcare News & Insights

New rule cuts red tape regs for hospitals, saves money

Tired of all of those unnecessary and obsolete regulations the government imposes on hospitals? If so, you’ll be happy to know life may be getting a little easier soon.

Here’s why: The government is taking significant steps to reduce burdensome regulations on American hospitals and healthcare providers. It’s all part of President Obama’s regulatory reform initiative to reduce unnecessary burdens on the healthcare system and reduce costs.

The changes are expected to save nearly $1.1 billion across the healthcare system over the first year and more than $5 billion over five years.

The revised rules that were issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) include:

1. Medicare conditions of participation (CoPs) for hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs)

CMS estimates this revised rule will save hospitals and CAHs $940 million per year. The final rule, which goes into effect on July 16th, is designed to reduce the regulatory burden on hospitals by:

  •  Requiring all eligible candidates, including advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, must be reviewed by the medical staff for potential appointment to the hospital medical staff. Once appointed, they then must be granted all of the privileges, rights and responsibilities accorded to medical staff members.
  • Supporting and encouraging patient-centered care through such changes as allowing patients or their caregivers to administer certain medications — both those brought from a patient’s home or dispensed by the hospital — and by allowing hospitals to use a single, interdisciplinary care plan that supports coordination of care through nursing services.
  • Encouraging the use of evidence-based preprinted and electronic standing orders, order sets and protocols. They ensure the consistency and quality of care provided to all patients by giving nurses the ability to implement orders that are timely and clear.
  • Allowing hospitals to determine the best ways to oversee and manage outpatients by removing the unnecessary requirement for a single director of outpatient services.
  • Increasing flexibility for hospitals by allowing one governing body to oversee multiple hospitals in a single health system, and
  • Allowing CAHs to partner with other providers, as well as using temporary entities, to become more efficient while providing safe and timely delivery of care to their patients.

2. Medicare regulatory reform

This revised rule would increase the ability of healthcare professionals to devote resources to improving patient care, by eliminating or reducing requirements that impede quality patient care or that divert resources from the delivery of quality patient care.

Also effective July 16th, CMS estimates this rule will save an estimated $200 million in its first year by eliminating duplicate, overlapping and outdated regulatory requirements for healthcare providers. Some of the more than 24 regulation changes include:

  • Eliminating obsolete regulations, including outmoded infection control instructions for ambulatory surgical centers, outdated Medicaid qualification standards for physical and occupational therapists, and duplicative requirements for governing bodies of organ procurement organizations.
  • Eliminating the specific list of emergency equipment ambulatory surgical centers must stock, and authorizing facilities — in conjunction with medical staff and their governing bodies — to develop policies and procedures that specify emergency equipment appropriate to the services they provide.
  • Eliminating the unnecessarily punitive enrollment bar for providers and suppliers when it is based on the failure of a provider or supplier to not respond in a timely manner to re-validation or other requests for information.
  • An update to e-prescribing technical requirements, allowing Medicare prescription drug plans to meet current standards.
  • Revising the requirement for only higher-risk end-stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities to comply with the full National Fire Protection Agency Life Safety Code Requirements. According to CMS, this burden reduction alone could save $108.7 million for ESRD providers.

For more of the changes to this revised rule, click here.

“These final rules incorporate input from hospitals, other health care providers, accreditation organizations, patient advocates, professional organizations, members of Congress, and a host of others who are working to improve patient care,” noted CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

For more information, click here.

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