U.S. proposes scrapping some obsolete Medicare regulations

Mon Feb 4, 2013 8:09pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return to Washington from Minneapolis, Minnesota February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return to Washington from Minneapolis, Minnesota February 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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(Reuters) - The Obama administration on Monday proposed eliminating certain obsolete Medicare regulations, a move it said would save hospitals and other healthcare providers an estimated $676 million a year, or $3.4 billion over five years.

The Department of Health and Human Services described the targeted regulations as unnecessary or excessively burdensome and said their proposed elimination would allow greater efficiency without jeopardizing safety for the Medicare program's elderly and disabled beneficiaries.

"We are committed to cutting the red tape for healthcare facilities, including rural providers," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

"By eliminating outdated or overly burdensome requirements, hospitals and health care professionals can focus on treating patients," she added.

Industry representatives largely welcomed the changes, saying the proposed rule would help hospitals free up more resources for patient care.

"There are a number of particularly meaningful provisions in the proposed rule," said Chip Kahn of the Federation of American Hospitals.

The American Hospital Association, though, said it was disappointed the administration did not allow "hospitals in multi-hospital systems" to have single integrated medical staff structures.

"Hospitals are delivering more coordinated, patient-centered care and (the administration) should not let antiquated organizational structures stand in the way," AHA President Rich Umbdenstock said in a statement.

A key provision of the new rule would eliminate the requirement that physicians be on site once every two weeks at some very small hospitals, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers.

Among the other changes, the administration would allow registered dietitians to order patient diets without a physician's approval, and hospital nuclear technicians to prepare certain medicines without the supervision of a doctor or pharmacist.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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Comments (9)
NCMAN64 wrote:
One thing that we have learned, anything proposed by the Obama administration needs to be viewed with a bit of speculation. As we’ve seen before, Obama cannot be trusted to put America first.

Feb 04, 2013 10:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
dreamymiss wrote:
and hospital nuclear technicians to prepare certain medicines without the supervision of a doctor or pharmacist…I guess nurclear technicians want their slice of the over-prescribe-bribe.

Feb 05, 2013 12:34am EST  --  Report as abuse
Sol_ wrote:
Eliminating waste and corruption must top the list if we are going to catch up to the rest of the world in terms of costs. This is a much needed step forward.

Two thumbs up

Feb 05, 2013 1:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
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