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Hospital Report

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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

CMS Publishes Final Rules to Reduce Regulatory, Paperwork Burdens

September 30th, 2019

By Jill Drachenberg, Editor, Relias Media

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) last week announced final rules to reduce regulatory burdens in healthcare, as part of its Patients Over Paperwork initiative.

The Omnibus Burden Reduction Final Rule removes some of the paperwork and regulatory headaches that can plague hospitals and health systems — particularly small or rural systems. Removing more burdensome requirements will allow hospitals to devote more time and resources to providing quality care and better patient outcomes, according to CMS.

The final rule includes changes to emergency preparedness regulations, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), and other areas, including:

  • Reducing review of emergency preparedness plans to biennial instead of annual (except in long-term acute care centers, which must maintain annual reviews);
  • Allowing hospital systems to establish centralized quality assessment/performance improvement, antibiotic stewardship, and infection control programs;
  • Eliminating the requirement that ASCs have a written transfer agreement with a local hospital and employ surgeons who have admitting privileges at a local hospital; instead, ASCs can periodically notify the local hospital of its patient population and operations;
  • Removing the requirement for ASCs to perform a complete physician exam and medical history on every patient 30 days prior to surgery, instead allowing ASCs to decide which patients require such exams;
  • Eliminating requirements for transplant centers to resubmit outcomes and experience data for Medicare reapproval. “This policy seeks to address the unintended consequences of the existing requirements that have resulted in transplant programs potentially avoiding performing transplant procedures on certain patients and many organs going unused,” according to CMS. “Although we are finalizing the removal of this requirement, CMS will continue to monitor and assess outcomes and quality of care in transplant programs after initial Medicare approval.”

CMS also released its final rule for Revisions to Discharge Planning Requirements. The rule requires hospitals to create discharge plans for those patients for whom they deem necessary, and for patients and families who request one. Hospitals must also provide patients information on post-acute care providers, including performance data such as pressure ulcers, falls, readmissions rates, and other quality indicators. Most hospitals already are fulfilling most of these discharge planning requirements, CMS noted.

More information on these and other CMS final rules will be available in the November issue (and other upcoming issues) of Hospital Case Management.