That is the expectation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which released three new rules in response to the Obama administration's directive to cut through healthcare's red tape. The combined rulemaking is intended to remove or revise outdated, duplicative, overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations, thereby saving the healthcare system an expected $1.1 billion per year and more than $5 billion over five years.
Earlier this year, President Obama instructed federal healthcare agencies to streamline regulations that impede flexibility, unnecessarily burden resources, reduce efficiency, increase costs and decrease quality of care. The result is CMS' rulemaking trilogy.
First, CMS has issued a proposed rule to significantly revamp numerous portions of the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation for hospitals. The revisions generally allow for greater flexibility in hospital governance and management, reduce certain reporting requirements and timelines, streamline medical staff membership matters, undo the burdens imposed by certain existing nursing regulations, and reduce redundancy in transplant regulations. CMS estimates that these changes could result in more than $900 million per year in cost savings.
The second proposed rule retools the Medicare and Medicaid Regulations applicable to nonhospital providers and suppliers, providing an expected annual savings of $200 million. By eliminating automatic deactivation from Medicare for those who have not submitted a claim in 12 consecutive months, removing the specific list of emergency equipment that ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) must have on hand, updating obsolete e-prescribing technical requirements, and removing other outdated and overly prescriptive requirements, CMS has endeavored to improve transparency and help providers operate more efficiently.
CMS also issued a third, finalized rule aimed at amending the ASC Patient Rights Conditions for Coverage to change the date that ASC patients need to be informed of their rights, from in advance of the procedure date to the same day as the procedure. CMS expects this change to save ASCs $50 million per year by allowing for more same-day surgeries.
In announcing these rules, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said "[o]ur new proposals eliminate unnecessary and obsolete standards and free up resources so hospitals and doctors can focus on treating patients." However, whether the expected savings and efficiencies called for by the Obama administration will actually be achieved through these new rules remains to be seen. Many aspects of the proposed and finalized rules include sweeping changes that are widely expected to further the Obama administration's goals, while others only make regulations consistent with current practice and update language to reflect newly adopted standards. The rules themselves acknowledge that the actual savings amounts "are uncertain" and, therefore, "could obviously be much higher or lower."
The proposed rules are now open for comment through December 23, 2011. For more information on how the new regulations could affect you, please feel free to contact Edward Sturchio of the Life Sciences and Healthcare practice group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.
Susan Huntington and Alexandra MacKenzie Pearsall authored the section on CT law in "State Response to Opioid Crisis and Opioid Prescribing Requirements: A 50 State Survey," a resource published by the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).
Day Pitney Alert
Beth Alquist, chair of Day Pitney's Intellectual Property and Technology group, was featured on the MetroHartford Alliance radio show, "Pulse of the Region," to discuss the role of women in technology in connection with the Connecticut Technology Council's 15th Annual Women of Innovation (WOI) Awards
Susan Huntington served as a primary author of "Issues and Considerations in an Evolving Liability Environment: Summaries and Checklists Regarding Protections for Board of Directors and Executive Officers," a toolkit published by the American Health Lawyers Association's (AHLA) Business Law and Governance Practice Group.
On September 20, Susan Huntington presented during an educational call-in discussion, "Insurance and Coverage Risk Management Approaches to Address the Opioid Crisis," for the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).
Tom Zalewski is quoted in an article, "Careful Care: Health Care Companies Must Be Aware of Legal Risks That Come with New Technology," published by ROI-NJ.
Day Pitney partners Elizabeth Sher and Susan Huntington are recipients of Profiles in Diversity Journal's 18th Annual "Women Worth Watching" Awards, which recognize esteemed women leaders and acknowledge their talents, commitment, achievements and leadership.
Susan Huntington and George Mikhail were quoted in an article, "STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES: U.S. Supreme Court Decides Allina and Analysis, Predictions Follow," published in Health Law Daily by Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Azar v. Allina Health Services, the article provides an overview of the court's decision and perspective on what it means for providers.
Susan Huntington, chair of the firm's Healthcare and Life Sciences practice group, was quoted in an article, "Attorneys React To High Court's HHS Rulemaking Decision," published by Law360.
Day Pitney Press Release