One of the clearest ways Congress can directly improve the lives of Americans is by streamlining our healthcare system to maximize patient outcomes, using the newest and most innovative medical practices that provide exemplary patient care in the most cost-effective manner, saving both lives and taxpayer dollars.
With our focus on identifying the obstacles that impact patient care, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health began meeting with physicians, hospitals and other healthcare experts from across the nation to identify the best ways to improve the quality of healthcare.
They brought to our attention duplicative and unnecessary regulations and red tape in the Medicare system that hinder their ability to adequately treat patients. Simply put: Some regulations add cost but don’t make patients healthier or safer. To add insult to injury, some of the recordkeeping can only be described as busy work, which wastes the time of professionals who should be able to devote that precious time to their patients.
Many healthcare providers find themselves spending more and more time on documentation, redundant paperwork and regulatory compliance, taking them away from patient care. We’ve reached the threshold where the regulatory burdens placed on healthcare providers are now coming at the expense of patient care, and we can’t allow this to continue.
We’re now at a place where we must find a balance between maintaining a system of accountability for our healthcare providers that makes sense and provides quality care to patients.
In meeting with healthcare professionals from across the country, the Committee continues to hear accounts of outdated regulations that are often duplicated. The lengthy processes required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oftentimes becomes an obstacle to quality patient care.
Each day, patient care is sacrificed as a result of an outdated and inefficient system, lives are put in jeopardy, and taxpayer dollars are wasted.
In order to combat the crippling regulatory burdens placed on healthcare providers, the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee has launched the Medicare Red Tape Relief Initiative, which seeks to use healthcare providers’ input to eliminate outdated regulations, minimize egregious regulatory strain, reduce and streamline paperwork, and expedite life-saving procedures approval for use in the Medicare system.
The Health Subcommittee is focused on finding solutions that balance the need for regulations with the cost and quality of care that’s being provided. And through the Medicare Red Tape Relief Initiative, I believe we’ll be able to find that balance.
• Rep. Peter J. Roskam, Illinois Republican, is Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. He represents Illinois’s 6th Congressional District, which spans Chicago’s western suburbs.