Hospitals may save or divert to patient care $5 billion in resources over five years – money now spent on bureaucratic red tape – thanks to a package of reforms that include two proposed rules and one final regulation, federal officials said Tuesday.
These "redundant and overly burdensome regulations...were getting in the way of (hospitals providing) the best care," Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said during a news briefing.
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"They can use this money to improve care, see more patients and hire more staff," she said, by reducing what's required for Medicare payment and giving them more flexibility on which levels of personnel must provide certain types of care.
Added Donald Berwick, MD, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: "One of the main impacts on personnel is (it provides) the chance for doctors and nurses and pharmacists – people whose time is very valuable – to reallocate their energies away from wasteful procedures to really direct their energy more directly to patient care. This will increase the amount of professionals' time to what they are there to do and what patients want them to do, which is to take care of them."
For example, the proposal would allow advanced practice registered nurses and other non-physician providers to perform services according to the rules of their state, which in most states would mean they could write or verbally give certain standing orders for patient care, rather than having to wait for a physician's signature.
"Now hospitals will have the option to credential and privilege these health professionals to the fullest extent of state law," Sebelius said.