New report shows regulatory burden overwhelming providers, diverting clinicians from patient care

Written on Nov 15, 2017

The American Hospital Association has released a new analysis showing that providers spend nearly $39 billion a year solely on administrative activities related to regulatory compliance. In addition, the analysis found that an average-sized hospital dedicates 59 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to regulatory compliance; one-quarter of those employees are physicians, nurses and other health professionals who would otherwise be caring for patients.

While some regulation is clearly necessary to ensure safe and accountable care to patients, close to 24,000 pages of hospital-related federal regulations were published in 2016 alone. Providers are constantly challenged to interpret and implement new or revised regulations while maintaining their core mission to provide high-quality patient care.

The study looked at nine areas in order to assess the administrative impact that existing federal regulations have on providers, ranging from quality reporting to mandatory recordkeeping. The analysis found that providers are required to comply with 629 discrete regulatory requirements across nine areas from four different federal agencies.

In addition, an average-sized community hospital spends $7.6 million annually to comply with federal regulations, this equates to $1,200 every time a patient is admitted. Reducing the administrative burden will enable providers to focus more on patient care, and reinvest resources to improve care, improve health and reduce costs.

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