The House Ways and Means Committee said it would continue exploring ways to reduce regulations in Medicare, after issuing a report last week on its conversations with health care providers. “The Medicare program has reached the threshold where the regulatory burdens placed on health care providers are now coming at the expense of patient care — we cannot allow this to continue,” Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam of Illinois said. Although light on specifics, the report highlighted areas where providers indicated they need more flexibility, including in anti-kickback laws, conditions of participation for hospitals, and administrative tasks such as billing and data reporting.
Of particular concern to both the committee and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the so-called Stark law, which limits how and when physicians can refer patients to other entities in which they share a financial interest. The law is widely considered outdated as the industry shifts to value-based care, which requires close financial relationships between various providers.
“The Committee’s work is not complete,” the Ways and Means report stated. “The health care landscape is constantly changing, which will require policymakers to continuously weigh the impacts to the provider community, and most important of all, the impact on patient care.”
Here’s hoping this easing of regulations happens soon enough that we may all get better and faster access to decent patient care!