House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a number of policies that will break down burdensome regulatory barriers in the Medicare program that get in the way of care for patients:
"I applaud the Administration for working with the Ways and Means Committee to strengthen the Medicare Program by reducing unnecessary red tape and regulations that drive up costs and hinder care for our patients. These changes are estimated to eliminate more than 2 million hours of administrative burden for hospital providers, allowing clinicians to instead focus their time on what matters most: patients and their needs. We look forward to continuing our work with the Administration to cut down on unnecessary red tape in the Medicare Program as we move toward a truly patient-centered health care system."
Subcommittee on Health Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) added:
"Requirements that are misguided, outdated, or are too complex can have a detrimental effect on health care delivery by shifting the focus of providers away from the patient's needs and toward unnecessary paperwork, ultimately increasing the cost of care. Providers are spending too much time and too many dollars complying with redundant rules and regulations which lowers quality and drives up costs. I applaud CMS for finalizing policies that allow us to begin to cut down those burdens that get in the way of patient care."
Background: As part of their efforts to cut unnecessary and burdensome regulations in the Medicare program, known as the "Medicare Red Tape Project," the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health recently convened a roundtable with hospital leaders from all over the country. They discussed opportunities to improve patient care and reduce health care costs by eliminating regulations that distract providers from patient care, drive up costs, hinder access and get in the way of coordinated care.
The Medicare payment regulations for the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System are released annually. On August 2nd, the Administration, under the leadership of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, took major steps to address a number of regulatory burdens, which is estimated to save 2 million hours of burden and generate at least $75 million in savings to hospitals. The Administration's IPPS and LTCH Prospective Payment System Final Rule finalizes a number of policies on which the Committee has focused to reduce administrative burdens. That includes improvements to hospital quality reporting to empower providers to focus more time and resources on patient care. CMS also permanently eliminated the so-called "25-percent rule" for LTCHs, which Congress has acted to prohibit numerous times. This action will provide regulatory relief to help ensure those suffering from severe illnesses and injuries have access to the care they need.