Statement from HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr on retrospective review of existing rules

By Industry News Release
10:53 AM


Earlier this year, President Obama outlined his plan to create a 21st-century regulatory system that is simpler and smarter and that protects the health and safety of the American people in a pragmatic and cost-effective way.  He called for a change in culture to incorporate ongoing review of regulations into our operations. We can target rules already on the books to increase flexibility and remove regulations that are out-of-date, unnecessary, excessively burdensome, or in conflict with other rules.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released its Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Rulesbased on a comprehensive inventory of each agency’s existing, significant regulations. The Plan highlights regulations already being modified or streamlined and identifies additional candidates for further review.

For example:

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working to address conflicting requirements between Medicaid and Medicare that potentially create barriers to high quality, seamless, and cost-effective care for dual eligible beneficiaries.  By improving coordination and partnering with states, we can improve access, quality, and cost of care for people who depend on both programs.
  • The Secretary is reviewing and updating the methods and criteria used to identify Health Professional Shortages and Medically Underserved Areas. The previous criteria were last established in 1978. Establishing more consistent and comprehensive criteria will allow the Department to more effectively serve some of our most vulnerable populations.
  • And we are looking for opportunities to incorporate modern technology into our regulations in a way that increases flexibility for states and businesses while improving people’s lives. For example, the Agency for Children and Families is encouraging states’ child support programs to use cost-effective technologies like electronic signature and document storage; the Food and Drug Administration is also going paperless with its adverse events reporting requirements for medical devices; and CMS is working to reduce the barriers to telemedicine to provide better access to care.

Today’s report highlights many more opportunities for reform. At HHS, we do not believe regulatory review is a process you can just engage in from time to time. We have redoubled our long-standing effort and commitment to making regulatory review an integral part of our operations and culture.

As our work continues in the months and years to come, we will rely on key principles like transparency, public participation, clear priorities, and informed analysis to guide our efforts. We have a responsibility to balance the health and safety of all Americans and our commitment to promoting economic growth, job creation, and innovation. Today’s plan is a key step in fulfilling the responsibility.