ASA Discusses Regulatory Relief with HHS Acting Secretary CMS Administrator - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

FDA & Washington Alerts

ASA Discusses Regulatory Relief with HHS Acting Secretary, CMS Administrator

ASA President Jeffrey Plagenhoef, M.D., FASA participated in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “Cut the Red Tape: Eliminating Excessive Regulations to Create Jobs and Growth” roundtable between leaders in HHS, physicians and other healthcare stakeholders. During the hour-long session, Dr. Plagenhoef noted a physician anesthesiologist’s critical role in addressing the opioid epidemic and how regulatory relief can allow rural patients better access to physician anesthesiologist-led care.

Dr. Don J. Wright, Acting Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Charles Keckler, Associate Deputy Secretary of HHS and Anna Abram, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation and Analysis for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) led the conversation. The meeting was part of a wider Administration effort to draw attention to regulatory burdens and their impact on jobs and the economy.

“Physician anesthesiologists are the content experts on opioids and in the science of pain medicine,” Dr. Plagenhoef noted when asked by administration officials on how appropriate editing to and elimination of unnecessary regulations could work to address the opioid epidemic. “The causes of the epidemic complex but there are workable solutions – the ASA will partner with any and all to properly address this crisis with a comprehensive strategy.” ASA has nominated physicians to participate in the FDA Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. Dr. Plagenhoef noted that the Task Force can be most effective when engaging pain-boarded physician anesthesiologists.

The Administration also sought comment on how HHS and its individual departments can best serve patients in rural areas. Administrator Verma noted that market consolidation has led to few options for rural patients and regulation, at times, impeded access to care. In this area, Dr. Plagenhoef noted ASA’s interest in regulatory authorities looking at rural pass through regulation. As of today, patients in many rural areas often are left without access to a physician anesthesiologist. ASA has asked HHS and has also worked with key legislators on Capitol Hill to encourage rural hospitals to use physician anesthesiologists.

ASA had previous contact with the Administration in June regarding regulatory relief – a discussion that led to CMS proposing to revise the criteria reporting criteria for physician anesthesiologists and other clinicians under the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

For questions, please contact the Department of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at or (202) 289-2222.

Dr. Plagenhoff

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