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Could CMS Suspend New Quality Reporting Requirements and Meaningful Use?

Written by: Mediware Bloggers on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 Posted in:

The AHA recommends that CMS suspend post-acute care quality reporting requirements finalized on or after Aug. 1, 2015.

On June 13, the American Hospital Association (AHA) sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Vermer asking the organization to “reduce administrative complexity,” arguing that changes could “save billions of dollars annually and allow providers to spend more time on patients, not paperwork.” The AHA letter was in response to CMS’ April 2017 proposed rule and request for information (RFI), in which CMS said it wanted to:

  • Put a “strong focus on patient-centered care, so providers can direct their time and resources to patients”
  • Gather ideas for “regulatory, policy, practice, and procedural changes to better achieve transparency, flexibility, program simplification, and innovation”

The AHA took full advantage of the opportunity. It provided a list of 29 suggestions, including the cancellation of Stage 3 of the meaningful use program, citing burdensome regulations that had “no clear benefit to patient care.” The suggestions also included the re-evaluation of post-acute care quality measurement requirements and the restoration of compliant codes for the inpatient rehab facility (IRF) 60% rule.

While the restoration of the codes would be helpful to IRFs, it’s likely that the re-evaluation of the quality measurement requirements is higher on the list of priorities for most. In its comments, the AHA noted that today’s providers have “duplicative reporting requirements—such as two different mandated ways of collecting patient functional status data [leading to] enormous confusion in the field.” For that reason, the AHA urged CMS to “suspend any post-acute care quality reporting requirements finalized on or after Aug. 1, 2015, and to work with the post-acute care community to develop requirements that strike a more appropriate balance between value and burden.”

In the short term, there isn’t likely to be much relief from the regulatory burdens that hospitals and rehab facilities face. However, it’s a step toward enabling rehab providers to focus on services that do clearly have a positive impact on patients and their care.

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