Could documentation relief be coming soon?

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

Long-term care professionals know a lot.

At the top of the list has to be that you are saddled with too many tasks, many of them documentation-related.

That's why readers took so heavily to a recent McKnight's Daily Update item we ran that had a headline stating, “‘Unnecessarily time-consuming' documentation may be on chopping block.” Talk about catnip for weary caregivers.

The real importance of that statement, however, is to whom it was attributed. That would be none other than Seema Verma, leader of all things Medicare and Medicaid, nursing homes' top two payment sources.

It's nice to have friends in high places. Even better if she speaks of clearing regulatory clutter. If anyone can get it done, it would be her, since she is the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Verma took direct aim at simplifying your work life in a late August blog post. Among her possible solutions is a scaled-back payment and quality reporting system. Talk about catnip — dipped in tuna oil.

Although such themes have been fodder for campaign speeches for a while, Verma's big reveal was that CMS was already working on initiatives to be announced in coming months that will “ease the burden” of providers.

In addition, she and the administration promise you'll be asked how CMS can simplify regulations and ease your burdens.

If you get the chance, tell Verma and crew that some of the ideas she mentions may be good for some niches of healthcare but not necessarily all. You, for example, do not want to pause or go backward one iota when it comes to electronic health records.

Also, tell her to not encourage any ideas about Medicaid cutbacks or block grants, the latter of which is essentially the former. Granted, she's not a member of Congress, which makes the laws, but her word — coupled with that of her boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. — would certainly carry weight.

While you're at it, also tell her that you're waiting to see the results of the Trump edict that two regulations shall be cut for every new one put into place. Perhaps you can persuade her to make it three out for every one in.

It never hurts to ask, especially when friends in high places are involved.