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AHA sends Congress suggestions for regulatory relief

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The American Hospital Association has forwarded some options to Congress to consider for regulatory relief for healthcare organizations.

Tom Nickels, the AHA’s executive vice president for government relations and public policy, told Congress that although the government has eased some  rules, a huge burden on hospitals remains.

He wrote: “Indeed, the regulatory burden faced by hospitals is substantial and unsustainable. In addition to the sheer volume, the scope of changes required by the new regulations is beginning to outstrip the field’s ability to absorb them.

 Here are a few highlights as summarized by FierceHealthcare:

  • “Offer an Anti-Kickback safe harbor and Stark exemption for clinical integration agreements and patient assistance, as these laws can hinder care coordination.
  • “Issue an enforcement moratorium on the ‘96-hour’ rule, which requires critical access hospitals to certify that a patient could reasonably be transferred or discharged within 96 hours.
  • “Allow providers access to patient substance abuse treatment records without an individual patient’s consent.
  • “Suspend the “deeply flawed” star ratings on Hospital Compare, which Nickels said experts have disputed as accurate indicators of clinical quality.
  • “Reduce the number of clinical quality measures to the ones that ‘matter,’ as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services currently uses upwards of 90 measures.
  • “Protect Medicare payments to disproportionate share hospitals.
  • “Adjust readmission rate evaluations to account for social risk factors.
  • “Make bundled-payment programs voluntary.”

To read the AHA letter, please hit this link.

To read the FierceHealthcare commentary, please hit this link.

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