Remove Government Barriers to Quality Healthcare

Doctors know best when it comes to caring for their individual patients. In addition, doctors want to know that the care they give is high quality and, if there are aspects of their care that need improvement, they are ready and willing to improve. Unfortunately, government payment rules, coding mandates, practice guidelines and reporting requirements impose a non-clinical burden on doctors that does nothing to either assess the quality of a physician’s care or help them to improve that care.

The increased burden of non-clinical activities such as reporting on a myriad of often meaningless quality measures make it difficult for doctors to spend meaningful time with patients. When a computer screen gets more attention than a patient during an office visit, the patient-doctor relationship is eroded.

Federal and state regulations also inhibit medical innovation. In order to promote an environment where doctors can provide high value health care for their patients, several things are needed:

One, remove excessive regulations from the day to day practice of medicine. The expanding bureaucratic regulation diverts physicians’ precious time, energy and effort away from patient care to comply with a growing body of government rules, regulations and paperwork. Time spent on administrative or bureaucratic paperwork is time lost to patient care.

Two, remove restrictions on truly innovative ways of delivering health care. For example, Medicare’s payment prohibition on new, physician-owned specialty hospitals. These hospitals often fill a medical void in a community, many focusing on specific medical problems, including cancer and heart disease, and the performance of these hospitals has generally been superior in terms of higher quality of care and better medical outcomes.

Three, remove the mandates to report on meaningless quality measures. The pursuit of better value in health care is a laudable goal. However, given the current gaps in performance measures, a “one-size-fits-all” approach is counterproductive. In order to ensure that measures will lead to better care for the patients they treat, providers should have maximum flexibility in choosing the metrics for assessment.

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