Health Information Management

News: AMA submits comments to CMS regarding federal regulatory burdens

CDI Strategies, April 28, 2011

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In response to President Barack Obama’s January 18 executive order aimed at reducing federal regulatory burdens, the American Medical Association (AMA) conducted a survey of its members seeking their input on the issue. More than 2,000 physicians responded. Of these, three out of five of named unfunded mandates such as documentation and certification requirements, Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), and drug plan authorizations their top concern, according to an April 13 letter from American Medical Association (AMA) CEO Michael D. Maves, MD, MBA, to CMS.  

“Over the years, Medicare has demanded that physicians take on a panoply of duties aimed at achieving social justice and protecting Medicare from potential fraud by other providers. While these requirements generally have laudable goals, costs frequently exceed benefits and are simply unrealistic…” the letter states.
 
Of particular interest to CDI professionals, a “significant number” of physicians said that Medicare documentation requirements were “a major imposition that delays care with redundant requirements for verifying physician orders and voluminous medical records where the salient patient information is buried in reams of purposeless, formulaic language.”
 
The AMA also cited inconsistent government audit policies as a waste of time and effort.
“We ask CMS to consider that physicians are already subject to claims review by multiple contractors…” the letter states. Audits, such as those performed by RAC, MAC, MIC, CERT, and ZPIC, “present a paramount example of the redundant, inconsistent or overlapping administrative burdens… At the very least, the regulations that control these programs should be coordinated to maximize net benefits,” the letter states.



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