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CMS Announces Medicare Changes To Streamline Processes


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced proposed sweeping changes to Medicare requirements that may save healthcare providers over $1 billion a year. 

The changes will remove those Medicare requirements that are considered unnecessary, excessively burdensome or obsolete. Many of the changes simplify and streamline coverage and participation conditions.

One provision that is expected to have a positive impact on lessening provider burden will streamline the requirements for conducting comprehensive medical histories and physical assessments, particularly for hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical centers. The surgical centers would not have to perform pre-surgical assessments, deferring instead to the operating physician’s judgment for the appropriate assessment.

Continuing Improvements Part of CMS 2017 “Patients over Paperwork” Initiative

The “Patients over Paperwork” initiative works to reduce unnecessary burdens on healthcare providers. In 2017, stakeholder feedback produced more than 3,000 mentions of burden categorized into 1,146 issues. Streamlining processes is welcome as studies show that for every hour a provider spends seeing patients, nearly 2 more hours are spent on paperwork.

Other selected improvements contained in the recent announcement include:

  • Allow facilities to review their emergency preparedness rules every 2 years instead of annually.

  • Home health agencies would not have to provide copies of clinical records to patients at the next visit.

  • Simplifying the ordering process and modernize the personal requirements for portable X-rays and technologists.

These recent proposals, along with other policies finalized in 2017 and 2018, are targeted to save healthcare providers an estimated $5.2 billion and 53 million work hours through 2021.

You can read the full CMS announcement here.

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