Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

One of the biggest challenges in medical practice is finding a way to spend enough time with each patient amid all the regulatory paperwork.

To streamline workflows and encourage better provider-patient relationships, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed new reforms to roll back certain regulatory efforts that were saddling clinicians with cumbersome paperwork. As part of those efforts, CMS reevaluated some of its reimbursement methods to improve efficiency with its required paperwork.

“Today’s reforms proposed by CMS bring us one step closer to a modern healthcare system that delivers better care for Americans at a lower cost,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. “Such a system requires empowering American patients by giving them price and quality transparency and control over their own interoperable health records, goals supported by CMS’s proposals. These proposals will also advance the successful Medicare Advantage program and accomplish a historic regulatory rollback to help physicians put patients over paperwork.” 

Some priorities highlighted in CMS’s regulatory proposal included:

  • Changes to the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule
  • Streamlining evaluation and management payments and reducing clinician burden
  • Advancing virtual care 
  • Lowering drug costs
  • 2019 quality payment program changes
  • Medicare Advantage Qualifying Payment Arrangement Incentive demonstration
  • Pricing transparency for patients

CMS estimated that if the first part of its proposal were accepted it could save clinicians up to 51 hours per year if 40% or more of their patients are receiving Medicare. Further changes outlined in a second phase of the proposal could bring an estimated savings of more than $2.6 million in 2019, along with an additional 29.3 hours saved.