Less red tape means less paperwork, and more time for everything else. How can healthcare facilities take advantage of CMS’s reduced burdens?

healthcare-paperwork-(1).jpgIn the healthcare world, regulation is necessary to ensure facilities and providers uphold nationwide standards in patient care. Similarly, accreditation holds healthcare providers accountable to their community while strengthening patient safety and ensuring high quality care. However, maintaining regulation and accreditation can cause your facility more than a few headaches – not to mention a few penalties if it falls short in meeting minimum standards.

Certifying that healing environments meet and exceed standards of patient care should not be a burden. To identify what stakeholders consider burdensome in the healthcare environment, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently launched the “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative. CMS identified “3,040 mentions of burden” from stakeholders, which it then categorized as relating to “1,146 different issues.

CMS is combatting these mentions of burden with a new proposed rule to remove “unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome Medicare compliance requirements for healthcare facilities.” As the titular initiative states, it’s time to put our patients over paperwork.
Healthcare providers should consider these three key tips to take advantage of CMS’s reduced burdens.

1. Invest in projects you’ve been putting off.

Imagine the projects your healthcare facility could invest in over the next several years with the monetary and time savings from CMS’s reduced burdens. Now, before you begin looking at a state-of-the-art vending machine or new drapes for waiting rooms, evaluate the projects highest on your list from a patient-care standpoint. If CMS is allowing you to reallocate time and money from burdensome Medicare processes, begin your exploration with systems, investments and procedures that will renew focus on patient care within your facility.

2. Unify systems across multiple hospitals.

As CMS notes, many of their new proposals will “simplify and streamline Medicare’s conditions of participation, conditions for coverage, and other requirements for participation for facilities.”

Just as implementing standardized processes in a single hospital can help tackle new regulations, standardizing measurements and assessments across multiple hospitals can help facilities track their metrics on one scale, remain ahead of the curve for changes in best practices or new regulations, and further lower costs beyond the initial time-savings of lessened paperwork.

3. Focus on your ambulatory care strategy.

Healthcare strategies continue to move into the acute-care space, and hospitals should shift their focus from hospital-centered care to ambulatory, outpatient-centered care. CMS claims their new provisions will also “streamline hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center requirements for conducting comprehensive medical histories and physical assessments.” A healing environment that can provide one space for all services – from those initial observations to rehabilitation and follow-up care – will not only retain current clients but will attract new clients for years to come.
From investing in patient-centered projects to implementing best practices across multiple hospitals or developing a strong ambulatory care strategy, healthcare facilities have a multitude of ways to take advantage of CMS’s reduced burdens. After all, less paperwork means more time for patients that matter most.

Read the full story from Larry Lacombe, VP Program Development & Facilities Compliance, published in Becker’s Hospital Review, here.