CMS Medicare Regulation Reforms: 5 Changes to Note

CMS has issued a final rule that reforms Medicare regulations deemed unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome for hospitals and other healthcare providers.

The changes will save healthcare providers nearly $660 million each year and $3.2 billion over the course of five years, according to CMS. "By eliminating stumbling blocks and red tape we can assure that the healthcare that reaches patients is more timely, that it’s the right treatment for the right patient, and greater efficiency improves patient care across the board," CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a news release.

1. The reforms allow multiple separately certified hospitals within a hospital system to share a unified and integrated medical staff.

2. Hospital governing boards are also no longer required to include a member of the medical staff; instead, they are now required to periodically consult with the person responsible for the organization and conduct of the medical staff.

3. Another one of the rule's key provisions seeks to help small critical access hospitals, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers by getting rid of the requirement that physicians should be held to a prescriptive schedule for being onsite.

4. The rule also makes it possible for registered dieticians and qualified nutritionists to order patient diets directly, without the preapproval of a physician or other clinician.

5. Additionally, under the rule, trained nuclear medicine technicians in hospitals can prepare radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine without a supervising physician or pharmacist constantly being present.

For more information, read the full text of the final rule here.

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