On September 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a Final Rule titled "Omnibus Burden Reduction." While the rule focuses on processes within health care facilities, a multitude of these changes will impact physicians practicing there. To highlight a few areas, CMS ruled:
1. Portable x-ray services can be ordered in writing, by telephone, or by electronic methods; the requirements for technician training is reduced.
2. Hospitals can reduce their requirements regarding pre-surgical assessments such that an outpatient visit can be used in lieu of a comprehensive H&P in certain circumstances.
3. Advanced practice providers can document progress notes in psychiatric hospitals.
4. Community health centers will be under policy review every two years, instead of annually.
5. Ambulatory surgery centers are no longer required to ensure that physicians have hospital admitting privileges, replacing the requirement with an "effective" transfer procedure.
These are only a handful of the revisions announced by CMS as part of the government's "Patients over Paperwork" initiative. For more information, read CMS' press release.
Elizabeth Woodcock is the founder and principal of Woodcock & Associates. She has focused on medical practice operations and revenue cycle management for more than 25 years. She has led educational sessions for a multitude of national professional associations and specialty societies, and consulted for clients as diverse as a solo orthopaedic surgeon in rural Georgia to the Mayo Clinic. She is author or co-author of 17 best-selling practice management books, to include Mastering Patient Flow and The Physician Billing Process: Avoiding Potholes in the Road to Getting Paid. Elizabeth is a Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives and a Certified Professional Coder. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University, she completed a Master of Business Administration in healthcare management from The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a doctoral student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University.
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