AMA Identifies 'Most Burdensome' Federal Regs

John Commins, April 14, 2011

The American Medical Association has sent the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services a list of "most burdensome" federal regulations that the physicians' organization says will interfere with patient care, drive up administrative costs, and add more paperwork.

In a letter to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD, said the list -- and accompanying suggested solutions -- were compiled after an extensive survey of more than 2,000 physicians from an array of specialties, and from state and medical specialty societies.

"Thousands of physicians have answered the AMA's call to identify federal rules and regulations that create significant burden for their practices and take up time that is better spent with patients," Wilson said in his letter. "Physicians' top concerns, including unfunded federal mandates, elimination of Medicare payment for physician consultations, and incompatible and inconsistent quality initiatives, offer a road map for CMS to make strategic changes that benefit the entire Medicare system."

Among the top complaints were unfunded mandates for services such as translators, administrative burdens associated with drug plan authorizations, growing legal liabilities with the expansion of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, and increasingly higher documentation and certification burdens

President Obama in January issued an executive order calling on all government agencies to complete an analysis of rules that may be ineffective, insufficient or excessively burdensome.

AMA said its survey was conducted earlier this year so it could give CMS with physicians' top concerns as they complete their analysis. The survey responses dealt primarily with issues under the purview of CMS, the government agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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