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HHS to Undertake Significant Regulatory Review and Effort Could Impact Anesthesia Related Rules

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is developing a proposed rule to remove "obsolete or burdensome requirements" from the agency's existing regulatory structure. The rule, expected to be released in September, could include changes to anesthesia-related rules.  

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday ("Washington is Eliminating the Red Tape") to accompany the department's announcement, an administration official states "The Department of Health and Human Services will soon propose to remove unnecessary regulatory and reporting requirements now imposed on hospitals and other health-care providers, potentially saving $4 billion over the next five years."

As part of the process to review existing rules, the department will consider changes to the hospital conditions of participation. Of particular interest to anesthesiologists, on page 41 of the HHS "Plan for Retrospective Review of Existing Rules," the department acknowledges receiving comments requesting that CMS consider elimination of the current physician supervision requirements imposed for anesthesia care, a component rule of the conditions of participation. 

As ASA members know, over the last several years ASA has made clear to policymakers its perspectives on a number of regulations that impact anesthesiologists and their patients, including the Society's continued strong support for the physician supervision patient safety standard. 

ASA will continue to inform the ASA membership of developments as they occur. 

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