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CMS Requests Feedback on Cost-Lowering "Patients Over Paperwork" Initiative


June 06, 2019

CMS has issued a request for information (RFI) looking for new ideas from the public on how to continue to improve upon its successful Patients Over Paperwork initiative. Launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the fall of 2017, the initiative was designed to lower health care costs, as well as reduce administrative and regulatory burden by streamlining regulations—returning clinicians to their primary objective, patient care.

According to estimates from CMS in January 2019, regulatory reform will save an estimated 40 million hours and $5.7 billion through 2021.

“Patients Over Paperwork remains a top priority and a driving force in lowering healthcare costs,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “In step with the Trump Administration’s Cut the Red Tape initiative to reduce overly burdensome regulations across the federal government, Patients over Paperwork has made great inroads in clearing away needlessly complex, outdated, or duplicative requirements that drain clinicians’ time but contribute little to quality of care or patient health.”

Key areas where the initiative has already made strides include simplified documentation and coding—freeing up time for patient-provide interaction and reducing burnout. With lessened administrative burden, health care staff are seeing improved quality and operational efficiency. The “Meaningful Measures” initiative, put in place alongside the Patients Over Paperwork, is anticipated to save 3.3 million burdensome reporting hours through 2020.

Per CMS’ press release, the latest RFI is focused on discovering innovative opportunities in the following areas to continue to improve upon:

  • Reporting and documentation requirements
  • Coding and documentation requirements for Medicare or Medicaid payment 
  • Prior authorization procedures
  • Policies and requirements for rural providers, clinicians, and beneficiaries
  • Policies and requirements for dually enrolled (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid) beneficiaries
  • Beneficiary enrollment and eligibility determination
  • CMS processes for issuing regulations and policies

“We are doubling down on efforts to decrease healthcare costs by reducing administrative burden. In removing what doesn’t add value, we’re making room for what does. Our goal is to ensure that doctors are spending more time with their patients and less time in administrative tasks,” explained Ms Verma. “Since launching Patients over Paperwork in late 2017, CMS has worked closely with the healthcare community to relieve regulatory burden and maintain flexibility and efficiency in Medicare and Medicaid, and we’re excited about the innovative ideas that today’s RFI will bring as we build on our progress and continue to achieve cost and time savings.”

Comments can be submitting through August 12, 2019 for the the RFI on Reducing Administrative Burden to Put Patients over Paperwork though the Federal Register.

Edan Stanley

 

Reference:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS Seeks Public Input on Patients over Paperwork Initiative to Further Reduce Administrative, Regulatory Burden to Lower Healthcare Costs. 6 June 2019. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-seeks-public-input-patients-over-paperwork-initiative-further-reduce-administrative-regulatory. Accessed June 6, 2019.

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