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CMS’ Verma Shares Vision for Better Health; Identifies Regulatory Reform as Key Piece

May 07, 2018

One of the nation’s top health experts shared her vision for better health care with hospital leaders today. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma spoke during the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) annual meeting.

Verma stressed the need to cut costs, while keeping patients front and center in care. She spoke about the movement to value-based care, in which providers are paid based on patient outcomes.

The administrator is committed to reducing barriers that prevent providers from participating in value-based models. CMS’ initiative, “Patients over Paperwork,” aims to reduce redundant, ineffective regulations. She used the example of a hospital where 18 people do compliance paperwork all day. Verma said their goal is to “get providers back to the front lines of providing care to patients.”

CMS sets quality and safety measures that hospitals must meet to ensure they deliver value-based care. However, some of the measures are outdated and no longer relevant. In response, CMS proposes removing 18 measures and addressing duplication of regulations. Verma’s agency is streamlining measures for cancer hospitals and long-term acute care hospitals as well. In addition, CMS is proposing to reduce more than two million “burden hours” for providers. This change is estimated to save more than $75 million.

Verma emphasized that price and quality information ensures patients can make the best choices for themselves and their families. She wants patients to be the primary controller of their health records. The MyHealthEData initiative would empower patients to do so. CMS’ touts their Blue Button 2.0 plan to allow a majority of Medicare beneficiaries to connect claims data to third party applications, services, and research programs.

In her remarks, the administrator also touched on greater price transparency, reduced spending on prescription drugs, and Medicaid waivers.

HAP continues to monitor CMS’ proposed policy changes and the impact on the hospital and health system community. HAP is hosting Pennsylvania events during the AHA meeting to give hospitals the chance to meet with Congressional members and staff about key issues. For additional insights on the AHA and HAP programs, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s vice president, federal legislative advocacy, or Tim Ohrum, vice president, grassroots advocacy.

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