In October, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced the “Patients over Paperwork” initiative, which is in accord with President Trump’s Executive Order that directs federal agencies to “cut the red tape” to reduce burdensome regulations. Through “Patients over Paperwork,” CMS established an internal process to evaluate and streamline regulations with a goal to reduce unnecessary burden, to increase efficiencies, and to improve the beneficiary experience. In carrying out this internal process, CMS is moving the needle and removing regulatory obstacles that get in the way of providers spending time with patients.
How does “Patients over Paperwork” work?
Steering Committee: Patients over Paperwork is well underway. CMS has established an executive level Burden Reduction Steering Committee, which will take the lead on coordinating burden reduction across all of CMS. This Steering Committee oversees and prioritizes these reform efforts and ensures CMS has the right collaboration across the Agency to drive results.
Customer Centered Workgroups: CMS established customer-centered workgroups focusing first on clinicians, beneficiaries, and institutional providers. The job of these workgroups is to learn from and understand the customer experience, internalize it, and remember these perspectives as they do this work. Over time, CMS will establish similar workgroups for health plans, states and suppliers.
Journey Mapping: CMS will use tools to capture customer perspectives, like human-centered design and journey mapping the customer experience. Also, they will establish mechanisms to share across CMS what is learned from their customers so everyone benefits from that input. CMS will develop multiple stakeholder journey maps over the coming months.
What CMS is hearing: CMS has listened and is starting to address burden areas based on the what they have heard the most about:
- Payment policy,
- Quality measures,
- Documentation requirements,
- Conditions of participation, and
- Health IT.
Listening Sessions: CMS has already begun and will continue to hold listening sessions, meetings, customer centered workgroups and other gatherings across the country. CMS has indicated the value in hearing directly from healthcare providers and beneficiaries, and their commitment to keeping patients first, in that they must hear firsthand from them and the people who care for them every day.
Reducing burden through rule making: As part of our commitment to hearing from stakeholders about the burden of regulations, CMS solicited comments on specific ideas to reduce those burdens through several Requests for Information in 2017. Thousands of comments were received and CMS is actively reviewing them to determine which ones can be addressed through rule-making in 2018.
Sub-regulatory Changes: While much of the burden providers experience is due to CMS regulations, CMS acknowleges that there are many policy changes that could be made to address provider pain points that do not require rule-making. These are called these sub-regulatory changes. CMS has recieved a number of ideas on ways to ease burden on providers that can be implemented on a faster timeline through updated guidance, FAQs or other mechanisms. CMS is actively working to identify and implement these improvements.
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CMS has developed a central webpage to share updates and news related to Patients over