Thursday, October 20, 2011

Improving Quality — Through Regulations???

The Administration just released its final accountable care organization regulation, which can be viewed here.  Three first impressions you need to know:

  1. At 696 pages, the final rule is more than 50 percent longer than the 429-page proposed rule released earlier this year.  That proposed rule resulted in what’s been widely viewed as a debacle – with multiple letters coming from the provider community saying they would not participate in the program.  So if 429 pages presented too many regulatory obstacles for providers to join, how will adding an additional 267 pages of Washington-imposed requirements encourage doctors and hospitals to sign up?
  2. The regulation also uses the word require (or some variation thereof) a whopping 1,064 times – up from 601 references in the proposed rule.  Again, this raises the question:  How will adding yet more Washington mandates improve the quality of care?
  3. With the release of the final ACO reg, we will have exceeded 10,000 pages of Obamacare regulations and related notices published in the Federal Register.  These regulations will impose costs on businesses and providers alike, while raising premiums for struggling families and small businesses.  It’s slightly ironic the Administration released its regulatory “relief” agenda earlier this week, because the overall impact of Obamacare’s many new mandates and regulations will only further stifle economic growth and recovery.