Regulatory Review May Have Just Made Life Easier for Medicare Providers

Howard Shelanski noted that the rule is part of a “retrospective review, or ‘regulatory lookback,’ [where] agencies across the federal government have identified hundreds of initiatives to reduce burdens and save taxpayer dollars.” Howard Shelanski noted that the rule is part of a “retrospective review, or ‘regulatory lookback,’ [where] agencies across the federal government have identified hundreds of initiatives to reduce burdens and save taxpayer dollars.” Flickr user Public Citizen

A newly released final rule streamlining safety standards for Medicare providers is a prime example of the Obama administration’s easing of regulatory burdens, the White House regulatory chief says.

Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, in a Wednesday blogpost singled out the May 7 final rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as saving $3 billion for the health system over five years, in part because it will “specifically reduce burdens on small critical access hospitals and rural health clinics.”

Sample provisions in the rule cited earlier by CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner include eliminating the requirement that a physician be held to a prescriptive schedule for being onsite, a problem in rural areas, while recognizing “telemedicine improvements and expansions that allow physicians to provide many types of care at lower costs, while maintaining high-quality care.”

Another example of streamlining is permitting registered dietitians and qualified nutritionists to order patient diets directly without requiring preapproval by a physician.

Shelanski noted that the rule is part of a “retrospective review, or ‘regulatory lookback,’ [where] agencies across the federal government have identified hundreds of initiatives to reduce burdens and save taxpayer dollars,” actions that so far have saved $13 billion and climbing, he said. “The retrospective review is a critical part of the administration's regulatory efforts to promote economic growth and opportunity while protecting the health, safety and welfare of the American people.”

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