The Regulatory Burden on Hospitals and Health Systems

Every day, health systems, hospitals and post-acute care (PAC) providers – such as longterm care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies – confront the daunting task of complying with a growing number of federal regulations. Federal regulation is largely intended to ensure that health care patients receive safe, high-quality care. In recent years, however, clinical staff — doctors, nurses and caregivers — find themselves devoting more time to regulatory compliance, taking them away from patient care. Some of these rules do not improve care, and all of them raise costs. Patients also are affected through less time with their caregivers, unnecessary hurdles to receiving care and a growing regulatory morass that fuels higher health care costs.

Trustees know how hard their hospitals and health systems are working toward achieving health care delivery transformation. It is important that trustees understand the impact of regulatory overload on health care organizations and the patients they serve.

To quantify the level and impact of regulatory burden, the American Hospital Association (AHA) worked with Manatt Health on a comprehensive review of federal law and regulations in nine regulatory domains from four federal agencies. The study included interviews with 33 executives at four health systems, and a survey of 190 hospitals that included systems and hospitals with PAC facilities.

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