'Unnecessarily time-consuming' documentation may be on chopping block, CMS admin suggests

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Verma said CMS "must make it easier" for providers to focus on their work "without causing them to be subject to excessive regulatory and administrative burden."
Verma said CMS "must make it easier" for providers to focus on their work "without causing them to be subject to excessive regulatory and administrative burden."

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working on initiatives aimed at alleviating providers' burden and simplifying federal regulations, Administrator Seema Verma said in a blog post published Tuesday. Among her thoughts was suggesting a scaled-back payment and quality reporting system.

Verma began the post relaying her experience of her husband going into cardiac arrest earlier this month, and the care he's received in the days since. He's recuperating at home now, she wrote, but the experience solidified for her “the true greatness of our healthcare system: the remarkable people who serve within it.”

“Our agency must make it easier for them to focus on doing the work that patients and families need them to do without causing them to be subject to excessive regulatory and administrative burden,” Verma said.

CMS is currently working on initiatives to be announced in coming months that will “ease the burden our government places on healthcare providers,” according to Verma. The agency will continue efforts to ask providers how it can simplify regulations.

While some regulations are necessary to protect patients' safety, Verma said, recent ones “have tilted more towards creating burdens than towards serving as a safeguard for the programs.” Among the requirements that could be targeted as part of the new initiative are “unnecessarily time-consuming” documentation for payment and quality reporting; electronic health records that have “distanced” providers from their patients and new payment models that have “added yet another layer of rules and requirements.”

“This shift is now having a negative impact on patient care, hindering innovation, and increasing healthcare costs,” Verma wrote. “We are listening, integrating the feedback we hear into our work at CMS, and making changes that will make it easier for doctors, nurses, and other clinicians to do what they entered medicine to do: take care of those in need.”

Verma's post comes one week after CMS proposed changes to several of its bundled payment initiatives favoring voluntary participation over mandatory models.