THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
VICE PRESIDENT, FIRST LADY ANNOUNCE REFORM OF HEALTH CARE RULES Less Paperwork, More Time For Patient Care Will Result From Reinvented Regulations
Vice President Al Gore and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today unveiled a series of health care regulatory reforms within the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The changes, part of the Clinton-Gore administration's continuing regulatory reform efforts, include cutting burdensome paperwork requirements--giving health care providers more time to care for patients--and the removal of roadblocks to innovation and cost-cutting.
Highlights of the HCFA reforms include:
Eliminates the Physician Attestation Form, a cumbersome Medicare paperwork requirement which must be completed by a physician each time a patient is released from treatment. Result is elimination of 11 million forms and savings of 200,000 hours of physician time. Will cut labor costs $22, 500 per hospital per year. Reward good performance by laboratories by reducing regulatory oversight burdens. Incentives are created for manufacturers to develop more reliable equipment. Give Medicare providers more time for patient care by eliminating unnecessary government micromanagement and focusing instead on results. This will produce savings because providers will be free to achieve high quality outcomes in most cost-effective manner. Begin moving toward use of a standard claim form for all federal health care programs including the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. Vice President Gore said: "We need to focus on first class
health care rather than forcing our doctors and caregivers to worry more and more about staying within the lines of undue regulations. Our medical personnel should be allowed to use the best of innovation and inspiration to provide quality health care."
"As part of our health care reform efforts last year, we looked for ways to streamline regulations and simplify the health care system," Mrs. Clinton said. "At the same time, Vice President Gore's Reinventing Government Initiative began eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens in all areas of government. Today's meeting represents the perfect marriage of the two efforts. We can simplify the health care system and regulate the right way, without compromising quality."
"We're putting patients first, " said HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala. "Health professionals will now be able to focus more on patient care and less on paperwork."
"As a result of HCFA's recent regulatory review, we are proposing significant changes," said Bruce C. Vladeck, HCFA Administrator. "We are taking actions that will cut red tape for doctors and other providers, and allow us to be more responsive to the needs of our customer--the Medicare beneficiary."
The Health Care Financing Administration operates the Medicare program, oversees state-federal Medicaid plans, and is responsible for the quality of health care provided by 60,000 hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and other facilities. HCFA also oversees the quality of 152,000 testing laboratories in the U.S. and the federal licensing of health maintenance organizations (HMOs).