• Agencies Release Regulatory Review Plans

    From: Home Care Magazine

    WASHINGTON — Yesterday the Office of Management and Budget released preliminary regulatory review plans from 30 federal agencies noting regulations on the books that will either be modified or ditched altogether. 

    In a Jan. 18 executive order, President Obama called for a government-wide review of existing rules to identify those that need to be changed or removed because they are outdated, unnecessary, excessively burdensome or in conflict with other rules. 

    “I am directing federal agencies to do more to account for — and reduce — the burdens regulations may place on small businesses,” Obama explained in an opinion piece in the The Wall Street Journal. “Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country. We need to make sure nothing stands in their way.” 

    The agencies were given 120 days to come up with plans for a periodic review of existing regulations. The plans were due May 18. 

    In accordance with the review, regulations must be cost-justified and coordinated, transparent and science-driven. Federal agencies must also consider regulatory approaches that “maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public,” including disclosure of information. 

    As part of the review plan submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services, CMS said it has begun a Medicare and Medicaid alignment initiative to identify conflicting requirements between the two programs for dual eligibles. The agency highlighted a number of other review initiatives and said it has approximately 80 additional reform proposals under development. It plans to present those proposals to HHS leadership throughout the summer. 

    Among requests from commenters, CMS said it was asked to look at: 

    • Streamlining of claims review by multiple contractors including Medicare Parts A and B Recovery Audit Contractors, Medicare Administrative Contractors, Medicaid Integrity Contractors, Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Contractors, and Zone Program Integrity Contractors, which were presented as often redundant; 
    • Medicare documentation requirements; 
    • Improvements to the Medicare enrollment process; and 
    • Improved education and outreach to physicians about new requirements. 


    Following Obama’s order, the American Association for Homecare requested a review of “onerous and outdated regulations that hamper job creation and threaten access to quality home medical equipment and services under the Medicare program.” The association specifically asked for an examination of rules related to competitive bidding, respiratory therapy, power mobility devices, diabetes testing equipment, audits and anti-fraud and abuse initiatives. 

    The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness also wrote HHS to request a review of CMS’ competitive bidding regulations “because they are poorly designed, contradicting the president’s regulatory goals by needlessly sacrificing thousands of small businesses and tens of thousands of jobs.” 

    Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts sent a letter to President Obama as well listing competitive bidding among regulations that pose a negative economic impact. “We originally had over 400 DME providers in Kansas; however, now that Round 1 has been implemented I am concerned that patients, especially in rural areas, are facing issues related to access,” Roberts wrote. 

    The regulatory review plans from the federal agencies, including plans from HHS, are available on the White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system.

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