AMA: Unfunded mandates most burdensome to docs

The American Medical Association has outlined the most burdensome federal regulations physicians deal with--as well as recommended improvements--in a letter sent yesterday to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These regulations, the letter points out, drive up administrative costs, add paperwork and interfere with patient care.

"Thousands of physicians have answered the AMA's call to identify federal rules and regulations that create significant burden for their practices and take up time that is better spent with patients," AMA President Cecil B. Wilson wrote.

The AMA bemoans unfunded mandates, physician consultations, incompatible incentive programs, inconsistent audit policies, administrative simplification, the Medicare enrollment process, Physician Quality Reporting System feedback reports, education and outreach, and nursing home pain management.

Three out of five physicians who responded to the survey listed unfunded mandates as their No. 1 regulatory grievance. For unfunded documentation and certification mandates, AMA recommends CMS further delay the home health requirement and discuss the imposition of policies, such as the lab signature requirement, with the medical profession before incorporating them into a proposed rule.

AMA conducted its survey in response to President Obama's Jan. 18 executive order calling on all government agencies to complete an analysis of rules that may be ineffective, insufficient or excessively burdensome. By doing so, AMA could share physicians' top concerns with CMS as they complete their analysis.

More than 2,000 physicians and medical specialists responded to the survey and made suggestions that dealt primarily with issues related to Medicare and Medicaid.

For more:
- read the AMA press release
- read the AMA letter to CMS