The Medicare initiative that Seema Verma’s been closely working on is the “Patients Over Paperwork,” an effort that is in the best interest of doctors and patients.
Basically, federal agencies are reducing strict regulations for providers.
The problem in the past has been unnecessary paperwork to meet regulation standards. Doctors have been spending 2 hours on paperwork for every 1 hour spent with a patient.
The goal of this initiative is to ease the burden of providers, giving them the opportunity to focus on patients and increase patient satisfaction.
These are just some of the ways Seema Verma is working at CMS to put Patients Over Paperwork.
Patients Over Paperwork Initiatives
Since the first release, initiatives have been successful. CMS stated that by January 2019 the entire healthcare system saved millions of hours and billions of dollars by reducing regulatory burdens for providers.
In 2018, CMS proposed a rule to remove unnecessary Medicare compliance regulations and rules. The idea: putting the patients first.
A complaint many patients have when visiting their doctor is the lack of quality of care. This act hopes to change that.
The patients over paperwork initiative keeps the patient in mind. After all, the patients’ opinions and quality of care are the top priority.
CMS wants to reduce unnecessary burdens in hopes to increase provider efficiencies and improve the quality of care and overall experience for the beneficiary.
The Latest Update
In April 2019, CMS made some updates to the initiatives. The three latest topics touch on the burden of hospital providers, local coverage determination (LCD), and the recent policies and proposed rules.
Since 2017, this is the 9th edition of the initiative. It’s not a quick process changing an entire system to better suit the needs of the patients. First, CMS wants to ensure patients that they are the biggest priority of all the agency’s efforts.
Reducing Hospital Provider Burden with Human-Centered Design
Earlier this year, CMS revealed a new tool called The Complexity and Burden of Hospital Reporting Ecosystem Map. Quite the mouthful, but it was designed by a special team working at CMS. Formally, the Patients over Paperwork Hospital On-Site Engagement team – who else would know better?
First, they educate themselves about the burdens many hospitals are facing when it comes to making reports. This map may be an educational reference tool that CMS staff may use as they further develop programs services and policies.
Local Coverage Determination (LCD) Modernization Updates
One major area that stakeholders said was an issue was how the local coverage process works. Another way the initiative works to remove such a burden is to modernize the local coverage determination process.
Many stakeholders also say the LCD is a vital means to provide insight on services and items that Medicare beneficiaries may benefit from. However, there are high concerns about how transparent this process is for the beneficiary. CMS listens to comments from the public.
In turn, CMS made 11 updates in efforts to improve the patients over paperwork initiative in April this year. You can check these updates out on the CMS website. Included in this update list is the issue about the transparency of the LCD process.
CMS made sure that public feedback on the changes and the LCD process were consistent with the National Coverage Determination reconsideration process. This also shows why it’s important to speak up when proposals are made to change the healthcare system – your voice is likely to be heard.
Recent Policies and Proposals Target Burden Reduction
As new advances and innovation in technology take over, patient access could potentially make exchanging health data much easier for millions of people.
At the beginning of 2019, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released proposals for a new ruling. Particularly, efforts were made to support a more secure exchange process, access, and use of electronic health data.
This is huge for how CMS is working towards putting the patient first. The ruling would provide an increase in competition and choice while adopting modern technology advances. This makes for a much easier and more accessible system that allows patients to have more control over their health information.
Proposals to make such changes to the healthcare system to increase the satisfaction of caregivers and patients alike. This should make the process of sharing health information and data more seamless and less complicated.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working to change the nation’s healthcare system into one that cares most about the patient – and their quality of care.
The Importance of Putting Patients Over Paperwork
CMS realizes that providers are often caught up in paperwork (this is worse for smaller practices due to lack of billing and coding departments).
Researchers and policy creators have access to more data, which makes for more efficient policy and proposal updates. Without this information, their jobs may not be as accurate.
All the changes made recently are in direct relation to the comments CMS received from the 9 updates since 2017. Changes address the flexibility of the system, efficiency, and of course reducing burdens for patients and providers.
Over 400 comments were made about interoperability and how to make it better. Other changes were made due to the 78 comments on the burden, health IT, and/or interoperability.
Finally, CMS issued a final ruling that sets a new tone and redesigns the Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These groups of healthcare providers are responsible for the total quality of care and cost for their patients.
The final ruling is known as the “Pathways to Success.” This is to ensure that the program will provide the most value.
The five goals of the ACO program and the Pathways to Success are Accountability, Competition, Engagement, Integrity, and Quality.