CMS’ Seema Verma embarks on national ‘listening tour’ to hear from doctors, healthcare leaders

Seema Verma
CMS Administrator Seema Verma is on a national tour to listen to doctors and other healthcare leaders.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), kicked off a national listening tour this week designed to get feedback from physicians and other healthcare professionals.

Verma began the tour with a stop at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut on Monday, where she spoke with doctors and other healthcare leaders.

The discussion included ideas about developing more consistent quality measures, facilitating care integration, enabling faster adoption of new technologies and treatments, strengthening support for Medicaid and the need to address the opioid crisis, according to a hospital announcement about the visit.

Verma, nominated by President Donald Trump to head up CMS, met with leaders from Hartford HealthCare, the Connecticut State Medical Society and other healthcare organizations in the state.

The national tour is designed to give the CMS top administrator feedback on the agency and how it can help ease the regulatory burden on doctors and other caregivers.

Verma, whose name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Tom Price, M.D., who resigned last month as Health and Human Services secretary, has been committed to reducing the regulatory burden on doctors and other providers. Price resigned following a controversy over his use of private planes for travel at taxpayer expense.

Since Verma took over the agency, CMS has focused on reducing regulatory burdens and giving doctors and other clinicians more time to focus on patients. For instance, a proposed physician fee schedule released in July was intended to reflect a broader strategy to relieve regulatory burdens on providers, support the patient-doctor relationship, and promote transparency, flexibility and innovation in care delivery. CMS also unveiled a proposed rule in June that updates the Medicare physician payment system implemented under MACRA with changes to make it easier for small independent and rural practices to participate.

The agency is scheduled to publish final rules for the MACRA system and to implement the fee schedule by November 1.