- Medical practices continue to be frustrated with red tape and reporting requirements, with 86% saying regulatory burden has increased in the past 12 months, according to a Medical Group Management Association survey released this week.
- Prior authorization was the main culprit — 83% of respondents said that issue was either "very" or "extremely" burdensome. The Medicare Quality Payment Program, which includes the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, was next with 77%. Rounding out the top five were audits and appeals, lack of EHR interoperability and Medicare Advantage chart audits.
- Almost all practices surveyed said reduced regulatory burden would allow them to reallocate resources toward patient care and 80% said it would let them invest in new technology.
The results from MGMA's annual regulatory burden survey showed little change from last year, when QPP was the most maligned requirement, edging out prior authorization concerns. MA chart audits weren't in last year's top five, which included payer use of virtual credit cards.
The findings come despite a CMS focus on reducing provider burdens. The agency launched its Patients over Paperwork initiative in 2017 and frequently touts attempts to efforts to roll back redundant and unneeded reporting requirements.
In final rules issued last month, CMS said it will allow hospitals to review policies and procedures every two years instead of every year and also will let multi-hospital systems use a single Hospital Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement Program. CMS Administrator Seema Verma told reporters at that time that the agency plans to set up an office dedicated entirely to burden reduction.
Agency rulemaking takes time, however, and the healthcare industry itself is slow to change. Providers apparently feel not enough is being done to ease their administrative tasks.
"Value based reforms have tremendous promise to support physicians who provide high quality, low cost care," MGMA SVP of Government Affairs Anders Gilberg said in a statement. "The government needs to provide medical groups with clinically relevant and actionable patient data. As evidenced by this survey, there’s still much work to be done."
HHS has attempted to tackle prior authorization woes, including a proposed rule in June updating electronic prior authorization requirements in Medicare Part D plans. That came not long after the head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT called for prior authorization protocols to be overhauled.
CMS has also taken on interoperability concerns, notably with two proposed rules from February that aim to stop information blocking and ease the electronic flow of data throughout the industry.