CMS Administrator Verma Hosts Stakeholders for “Patients Over Paperwork” Listening Session

NAHC’s Dombi attends Similar Session Hosted by DoL, SBA

On October 26, 2017, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’ Administrator Seema Verma and key staff from the agency’s Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ) and Center for Program Integrity(CPI) conducted a “Patients Over Paperwork” Listening Session at which they outlined plans for ongoing efforts to “peel back the layers” of regulatory requirements and eliminate excessive regulatory burdens.  National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) staff Mary Carr (VP of Regulatory Affairs) and Theresa Forster ( VP for Hospice Policy & Programs)  were among the invitees at the session that was focused primarily on fee-for-service providers (earlier sessions in the day focused on insurer and pharmacy issues).

While the session was only one-hour in length, numerous concerns relevant to home health and hospice providers were raised, including burdens associated with the recently-finalized revisions to the home health Conditions of Participation, overly burdensome and costly requirements for both home health and hospice face-to-face encounters, issues related to electronic health record interoperability, and the goal of creating a smaller set of quality measures that are meaningful.   Verma referenced the agency’s efforts, through her Requests for Information (RFI) that were part of each of the proposed 2018 payment rules, to secure regulatory reform recommendations from various Medicare provider types (for additional information, please see NAHC’s recommendations for HOSPICE and HOME HEALTH submitted earlier this year as part of payment rule comments).  Verma also indicated that she intends to conduct a “national listening tour” to gain input from a wide range of providers on this initiative.

CMS has developed a general process for evaluating and streamlining regulations that includes three key components:

  • Increasing the number of “customers” engaged in the process
  • Determining the number of hours and/or dollars spent annually on compliance with the rules and
  • Increasing the percent of tasks that can be performed digitally to decrease cost burden

Verma welcomed further follow-up from attendees following the session.  Additional updates on Administration and congressional efforts to address regulatory burdens, and NAHC’s efforts in this regard, will be published in forthcoming issues of NAHC Report.

In related news, earlier this month NAHC President Bill Dombi was among the invitees at a similar session — titled “Cut the Red Tape:  Liberating America From Bureaucracy” — which provided senior officials from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Labor (DoL) to hear from regulatory experts and stakeholders on accelerating regulatory reform.  The session focused specifically on the process for regulatory reform.  The SBA has been instrumental in a number of efforts undertaken by NAHC to roll back unworkable and excessive regulatory burdens, including the original home health surety bond requirement, the companionship services exemption, and a variety of other Medicare rule changes.