New Medicare Rules Will Save Providers $676 Million Annually

February 2013, Vol 4, No 2 - Value Propositions

Removing Medicare regulations that are deemed unnecessary or unjustifiably burdensome on providers and hospitals would save nearly $676 million annually, and $3.4 billion over 5 years, through a rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of President Obama’s call on federal agencies to modify and streamline regulations on business.

“We are committed to cutting the red tape for healthcare facilities, including rural providers,” said the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “By eliminating outdated or overly burdensome requirements, hospitals and healthcare professionals can focus on treating patients.”

Many of the rule’s provisions streamline the standards healthcare providers must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, without jeopardizing patient safety. The proposed rule would:

  • Help small critical access hospitals and rural clinics by eliminating the requirement that a physician must be on site every 2 weeks, allowing physicians to provide care via telemedicine and other means that can reduce costs without sacrificing quality of care
  • Save hospital resources by permitting registered dietitians to order patient diets without the supervision of a physician, to free up physicians’ time
  • Eliminate unnecessary requirements that ambulatory surgical centers must meet to provide radiologic services
  • Permit trained nuclear medicine technicians in hospitals to prepare radiopharmaceuticals, without a supervising physician/pharmacist, particularly during off-hours
  • Eliminate a redundant data submission requirement for transplant centers, while maintaining strong federal oversight.

These rules are in addition to the rules CMS issued in May 2012 to reduce burdensome regulations for hospitals and providers, which are saving nearly $1.1 billion in the first year. HHS; February 4, 2013