AMA Forwards Physician Concerns About Burdensome Federal Regulations to CMS

A significant percentage of American Medical Association (AMA) members have identified federal regulations they consider burdensome and inefficient, according to a press release from the organization.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order in January calling for government agencies to reduce federal regulatory burdens.

In response to the order, the AMA conducted a survey asking member physicians and medical societies to identify problematic regulations and suggest ways to improve them. More than 2,000 physicians responded to the survey, according to the release.

On April 13, Michael D. Maves, MD, MBA, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the AMA, summarized members’ concerns in a letter to Donald Berwick, MD, administrator of CMS.

“Physicians’ top concerns, including unfunded federal mandates, elimination of Medicare payment for physician consultations, and incompatible and inconsistent quality initiatives, offer a road map for CMS to make strategic changes that benefit the entire Medicare system,” AMA president Cecil B. Wilson, MD, stated in the release.

As noted in the letter, 60% of responding physicians cited unfunded mandates such as translators for Medicare and Medicaid patients, pre-authorization of prescription drugs covered by Medicare, financial and legal liability for poor or uninsured patients, and documentation and certification requirements.

Forty-eight percent of respondents voiced concern about CMS prohibiting the use of consultation codes in Medicare and requiring physicians to bill for those services with lower-valued codes, according to the letter.

Other areas of concern included incompatible incentive programs, inconsistent audit policies and Medicare enrollment delays.

The AMA called for CMS to increase education efforts for physicians, re-instate consultation codes, align quality measures, reduce reporting burdens on physicians and target providers who violate regulations.

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