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Legal Insights and Perspectives for the Healthcare Industry

For those providers—and there are more than a few—that believe the administrative and regulatory burdens associated with participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs negatively affect their ability to furnish high-quality, cost-effective healthcare, now is the time to make your voice heard! On June 11, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the US Department of Treasury released a request for information (RFI) on Reducing Administrative Burden to Put Patients Over Paperwork. The RFI invites patients, their families, the medical community, and other healthcare stakeholders to submit comments on how CMS can reduce administrative, regulatory, and subregulatory burdens on providers. The goal of the initiative is to clear away needlessly complex, outdated, or duplicative requirements, allowing practitioners to spend more time with patients and less time on cutting through the red tape.

CMS is particularly interested in comments on the following areas:

  • Streamlining reporting and documentation requirements or processes to comply with CMS rules and regulations
  • Aligning coding, payment, and documentation requirements and processes
  • Simplifying rules and policies for beneficiaries, clinicians, and providers, and particularly those that are overly burdensome or unachievable in rural settings
  • Clarifying or simplifying regulations or operations for dual eligible (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid) beneficiaries
  • Simplifying beneficiary enrollment and eligibility determinations

Stakeholders, including trade associations, should take advantage of this RFI to recommend changes to rules, policies, and procedures that they believe will streamline the healthcare process. CMS has proven itself open to listening to stakeholders in its Patients over Paperwork initiative. In 2017, when CMS released a similar RFI, it received more than 3,000 responses detailing 1,146 distinct burden topics. CMS states that it has addressed or is in the process of addressing 83% of those actionable areas of burden. This RFI presents another opportunity for stakeholders to make their opinions known, and stakeholders should seriously consider submitting comments on how they believe CMS can reduce administrative burdens. Providing detailed input will allow CMS to make beneficial changes, shifting resources away from red tape and toward high-quality patient care.

Comments must be received by 5:00 pm ET on August 12, 2019.

Summer associate Lauren E. Amos, Harvard Law School, Class of 2020, contributed to this post.