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CMS Finalizes Burden Reduction Rule

In accordance with a 2017 executive order, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule to reduce regulatory burden that was proposed in September 2018.

The final rule revises elements of conditions of participation and conditions for coverage in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It includes provisions to simplify and streamline processes; reduce the frequency of certain required activities; and remove obsolete, duplicative, or unnecessary requirements. Of interest to essential hospitals, the rule targets emergency preparedness, hospital quality program requirements, infection control, and physical examination requirements.

Emergency Preparedness

CMS will require hospitals to update their emergency preparedness plans every two years, rather than the current annual requirement. CMS also provides additional clarity and flexibility regarding emergency plan testing.

Hospital Quality Program Requirements and Infection Control

As proposed, hospital systems that comprise multiple separately certified hospitals with a single governing body may elect to unify and integrate programs for both infection control and quality assessment and performance improvement.

Physical Examinations

The final rule gives physicians more flexibility in determining whether to take a comprehensive medical history and perform a physical examination. Physicians may perform an assessment in lieu of a full medical history and physical examination when a patient is receiving certain outpatient surgery or other procedures.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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