CMS moves toward rescinding clinical approval rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is taking steps toward rescinding a regulation that requires a physician or other qualified clinical practitioner's signature to requisition a diagnostic laboratory test, reports AHA News Now.

In a letter to Congress, CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick said his agency was researching whether such a regulation could be published prior to April 1. Berwick noted that despite efforts to create an educational campaign about the rule, "CMS policy officials have publicly expressed their support for rescinding the requirement."

CMS had included the signature requirement in its 2011 Medicare Physician Fee final rule, but delayed its implementation. The agency has come under pressure from lawmakers and various healthcare lobbies to change the rule.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle cited "the myriad potential harmful consequences of this policy on Medicare beneficiaries' timely access to laboratory testing, coupled with the increased administrative burden on healthcare providers and cost to the healthcare system" in a letter to CMS last month. The American Hospital Association and other lobbying groups have come out against the rule as well.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now article
- read Berwick's letter (.pdf)

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