Regulatory reform is most important as an opportunity to examine barriers to innovation that can deliver better care at a lower cost. The Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care is specifically focused on how regulations can be barriers between providers and patients, and examining how we can reshape or reduce them so that new arrangements, relationships, and solutions can emerge, all while maintaining the appropriate safeguards.
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Secretary Azar. I’m happy to be on this call with everyone and certainly share the Secretary’s excitement for the potential this proposed rule has for helping the American people.
As the Secretary mentioned, we believe regulatory reform is key to delivering better value in healthcare for American patients, and ultimately better health, period.
Regulatory reform with this aim in mind has been a key focus of my work as Deputy Secretary. Certainly, there are direct savings in time and money to be generated: In Fiscal Year 2018, HHS was the No. 1 Cabinet agency for regulatory savings, generating more than $12 billion in present-value savings. CMS’s Patients over Paperwork initiative has already resulted in changes that will save providers 40 million hours of paperwork through 2021. That is part of the goal with our Part 2 proposal: one years ago, I met Rachel Merino, a healthcare administrator at Valley Health Systems in Huntington, West Virginia. She told me that sometimes they may have to do 11 different kinds of Part 2 paperwork. Eleven!
But done right, regulatory reform is most important as an opportunity to examine barriers to innovation that can deliver better care at a lower cost. The Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care is specifically focused on how regulations can be barriers between providers and patients, and examining how we can reshape or reduce them so that new arrangements, relationships, and solutions can emerge, all while maintaining the appropriate safeguards.
We also need to look at these barriers because they may have become out-of-date, as the healthcare industry has been able to innovate. For many providers, Part 2 has become a bigger challenge because more medical professionals than ever are getting involved in the provision of treatment for substance use disorders. That’s a good thing—it’s not something we want our regulations to stand in the way of.
It is worth noting that the previous administration did take steps to modify Part 2 that addressed some of the concerns within the patient and provider communities. However, in the wake of the opioid crisis, and in light of the clear need to expand access to substance abuse treatment, it became clear that we needed to mount a comprehensive approach that, when taken together, helps patients receive better coordinated SUD treatment, reduces provider burden, and maintains important privacy safeguards.
In fact, integration of mental and physical healthcare is a vitally important piece of getting better outcomes for all kinds of health conditions. That’s why we’re introducing this proposed rule. It will reduce provider burdens while still safeguarding patient privacy, and enable high quality, coordinated care for people suffering from substance use disorders.
I want to emphasize one final point, that our proposed rule, like all of our work on innovation and regulatory reform, is not a result of a top-down approach to rulemaking. We’ve heard from so many patients who are in need of better-coordinated care for their substance use disorder challenges. We’ve heard from many in the medical field who were clamoring for revisions so they could provide better, more patient-centric care.
On that note, we’re lucky to have at SAMHSA someone who brought a vitally important perspective to this work as both a policymaker and a behavioral health provider herself. So now, I want to hand things over to Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz to explain in some more detail how we’re proposing to update the Part 2 regulations.