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New Administration Seeks Regulatory Relief

February 01, 2017

An executive order issued by President Trump—Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs—seeks to reduce the impact and cost of regulations through a “one-in, two-out” regulatory approach.

Under the order, whenever an executive department or agency proposes or promulgates a new regulation, it also must identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed. In addition, any new costs associated with the regulations must, to the extent permitted by law, be offset by eliminating existing costs associated with at least two prior regulations.

Since 1995, there have been nearly 6,600 significant rules published in the Federal Register. Of those, 1,911 have been identified as having a significant effect on U.S. businesses. Significant rules are those that “have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.”

Forty-four percent (841) of the significant rules having a significant effect on U.S. businesses were issued during the Obama Administration, and nearly a quarter (454) of those rules were issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)

 

 

A statement by Rick Pollack, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA), reiterated the need to reduce the administrative complexity of health care to allow health care providers to spend more time on patients rather than paperwork. The AHA cited that 23,531 pages of regulations impacting hospitals and health systems were issued in the past year.

In a December 2, 2016, letter to President-elect Trump, the AHA outlined an extensive list of actions the new administration could take to reduce regulatory burdens faced by hospitals. Specific examples include:

  • expanding Medicare coverage of telehealth services
  • providing regulatory flexibility in payment reform models
  • addressing regulatory requirements on the use of electronic health records
  • modernizing fraud laws to allow greater clinical integration
  • addressing barriers that limit the sharing of information in clinically integrated care

In addition, on January 20, the Trump Administration issued a memo to the heads of all executive departments and agencies freezing new and pending federal regulatory activity until the President's appointees or designees have had the opportunity to review any new, recently finalized or pending regulations. The memo, which is common for an incoming administration, addresses regulations that have been sent to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) but not yet published, as well as regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but were not yet effective on January 20, 2017.

HAP is monitoring the effect of the regulatory freeze and will continue to work in collaboration with the AHA, the new Administration, and the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to target burdensome regulatory requirements that do not advance patient care. Questions on federal advocacy activity may be directed to Laura Stevens Kent, HAPs vice president, federal advocacy.

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