John O'Connor

If there’s one thing that can give any operator a semi-sleepless night, it’s the thought that new regulations may be coming. Actually, just thinking about existing regulations can have a similar effect.

In a field where mistakes can literally be a matter of life and death, rigorous oversight is to be expected. But that doesn’t mean most people who must abide by the current mountain range of rules wouldn’t mind seeing fewer of them.

And it appears there may be some good news ahead here, courtesy of the boss at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

During a webcast interview last week, Seema Verma said the agency plans to help reduce regulatory burdens in the year ahead.

In fact, CMS has already taken a big step in this direction. Last year, the organization unveiled its Patients Over Paperwork initiative. The effort has taking a long-overdue swipe at regulatory excess by examining existing and proposed rules, with an eye toward culling the herd.

To be sure, Verma is hardly speaking out of class. After all, President Trump has made his views on the topic fairly well known.

Last year he introduced an initiative that calls on agencies to kill two rules for every new one introduced. At a ceremony in December, he said the goal had been surpassed, and there would be more of where that came from. He has also called on his Cabinet members to make deregulation a bigger priority during 2018.

In any given year, CMS spits out about 11,000 pages of regulations. So it would appear that the red tape dispensers will have plenty of targets to choose from.

John O’Connor is McKnight’s Editorial Director.