CMS Releases Burden Reduction Changes for Healthcare

CMS Releases Burden Reduction Changes for Healthcare

On September 30, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule
(regulation) regarding burden reduction for healthcare. This was in direct action to President Trump’s direction to agencies across the Federal Government to “cut the red tape,” by reducing unnecessary burden for healthcare providers, allowing them to focus on their priority: patients.

As a reminder, the rule addresses seventeen provider types including Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, Long Term Care, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Home Healthcare Agencies, Dialysis Centers and others.

The final rule focuses on the following:

  • Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction (cost savings)
  • Hospital & Critical Access Hospital changes to promote innovation, flexibility, and improvement in patient care
  • Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Dialysis Facilities. The final rule finalizes requirements for
    dialysis facilities that do not provide one or more exits to the outside at grade level from the patient treatment area level, by incorporating references to the 2012 edition of NFPA 101 and NFPA 99.
  • Emergency Preparedness Programs

Below are the key elements that affect the Emergency Preparedness Requirements:

  • Emergency Preparedness Program: Currently, all providers are required to review, and make necessary updates, to their Emergency Preparedness Programs annually. In this regulation, CMS is allowing all facility types, except LTC/SNF, to move to biennial (every 2 year) review
  • Emergency Preparedness Plan: All provider types, including LTC/SNF, are no longer required to document efforts to contact emergency preparedness officials and facilities regarding collaborative and cooperative planning efforts. Rather, providers must now have a process in place (that is documented) for cooperation and collaboration with emergency preparedness officials to maintain an integrated response during a disaster or emergency situation.
  • Training: Healthcare providers are required to provide emergency preparedness training to staff, relative to their roles and responsibilities, annually. In this regulation CMS is allowing all provider types, except LTC/SNF, to move to a biennial (every 2 year) training cycle. However, if “significant” changes are made to the emergency preparedness program facilities, regardless of type, are required to provide training to staff at the time of those changes.
  • Testing/Exercises: All inpatient facilities, including LTC/SNF, must conduct 2 exercises per year. Other outpatient providers (e.g., Ambulatory Surgery Centers) are only required to conduct 2 exercises every two years. For all providers, CMS has expanded the requirement options, such that one of the two required testing exercises can be an exercise of the provider’s choice, including: community-based full-scale exercise (if available), an individual facility-based functional exercise, a drill, or a tabletop exercise or workshop that includes a group discussion led by a facilitator.
    • Providers that experience a real-life event and that activate their emergency preparedness
      plan may use that event to satisfy one of the exercise requirements. A second exercise is
      still required and cannot be supplemented with a real-life event.

Read the complete CMS fact sheet

Read the final rule