Jennifer Wessel, JD, MPH
Senior Policy Analyst and Data Privacy Officer
On September 26, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an omnibus Medicare rule aiming to reduce the regulatory burdens on America’s healthcare providers.
The Omnibus Burden Reduction (Conditions of Participation) Final Rule finalizes the provisions of three proposed rules: Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction; Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Changes to Promote Innovation, Flexibility, and Improvement in Patient Care; and Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Dialysis Facilities. CMS believes these changes will promote patient safety and quality of care while providing regulatory relief for providers and suppliers.
The rule eliminates or modifies regulations that have been identified as obsolete or excessively burdensome in order to improve effectiveness and reduce unnecessary reporting. It makes changes to emergency preparedness requirements, ambulatory surgical center transfer agreements, and hospital medical history and physical examination requirements.
Notably, CMS is requiring hospitals to implement antibiotic stewardship and infection control programs. Active, hospital-wide use of these programs will help control healthcare-acquired infections and optimize antibiotic use, the agency says.
For critical access hospitals (CAHs), CMS is requiring less frequent review of policies and procedures and removing a duplicative requirement to disclose the names of people with financial interests in a CAH. CMS also is eliminating several requirements for hospitals that have beds for acute or skilled nursing care.
In addition, the rule updates the conditions that hospitals and CAHs must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It includes requirements for CAHs to mirror Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement and antibiotic stewardship programs to those being finalized for hospitals.
These changes go into effect Nov. 29, 2019. However, due to the time and effort required to comply, especially for CAHs, CMS has extended the effective date for some requirements.