CMS creates new Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics

In addition to reducing the hours and costs clinicians and providers incur for CMS-mandated compliance, the office will also focus on how health data can be harnessed for more efficient healthcare and improved patient experience.
By Mike Miliard
11:13 AM

"The work of this new office will be targeted to help reduce unnecessary burden, increase efficiencies, continue administrative simplification, increase the use of health informatics and improve the beneficiary experience," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has formed the new Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics – an outgrowth of its Patients over Paperwork Initiative, whose mission is eliminating red tape in healthcare documentation and, officials say, "permanently embeds a culture of burden reduction across all platforms of CMS agency operations."

WHY IT MATTERS
The new office is meant to bolster CMS's efforts to decrease the hours and costs clinicians and providers incur for CMS-mandated compliance.

Across Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Health Insurance Marketplace, the agency will take a more proactive approach to reducing provider burden, officials said, as new regulations are rolled out.

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The new office will engage with healthcare stakeholders to ensure that CMS has a better understanding of how regulatory burdens affect care delivery, according to CMS, as it works to  eliminate or modify outdated regulations that impede innovation.

The Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics will also focus on how health data can be harnessed for more efficient healthcare and improved patient experience, with a focus on interoperability, automation and innovation in tools enabling patients to access and manage their own health data.

Along with implementation and enforcement of national standards, this office will also work with the broader healthcare community to continue to make key administrative processes increasingly more efficient, according to CMS.

THE LARGER TREND
The Patients over Paperwork initiative was formed in 2017 by CMS with the priority of reducing regulatory burden and enabling providers to concentrate on patient care. Officials say the initiative could save $6.6 billion and 42 million unnecessary burden hours through 2021.

Among the unnecessary, obsolete or burdensome conditions of participation CMS has targeted, it has eliminated 235 data elements from 33 items on the Outcomes and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) assessment instrument for home health, and it established within the Quality Payment Program a consolidated data-submission experience for the different performance categories of MIPS so that clinicians no longer need to submit data in multiple systems.

CMS has also eliminated 79 measures, through modernizing proposals to advance its Meaningful Measures Initiative, resulting in projected savings of $128 million and an anticipated reduction of 3.3 million burden hours through 2020.

ON THE RECORD
"The Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics will ensure the agency's commitment to reduce administrative costs and enact meaningful and lasting change in our nation's health care system," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement.

"Specifically, the work of this new office will be targeted to help reduce unnecessary burden, increase efficiencies, continue administrative simplification, increase the use of health informatics, and improve the beneficiary experience," she said.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media

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