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HHS Commits to More Streamlined, Efficient Regulation

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  • In CMS
  • February 10, 2012
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Consistent with Executive Order 13563, which calls for a “streamlined, effective, efficient regulatory framework designed to promote economic growth, innovation, job-creation, and competitiveness,” the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has committed to an “ongoing retrospective review” of agency regulations.

The HHS retrospective review plan has five principal goals:
1. To streamline or eliminate unjustified costs and burdens
2. To increase transparency in the retrospective review process
3. To increase opportunities for public participation
4. To set clear retrospective review priorities
5. To strengthen analysis of regulatory options
To achieve these goals, HHS has set out a multi-step plan:

  • Take Inventory: HHS will set forth a compilation of potentially outdated regulations for review and identify the applicable review authority. HHS expects to complete this task by the end of December.
  • Use Existing Information on What Should be Reviewed: On an ongoing basis, HHS receives suggestions about what regulations need review and possible change. Some of these suggestions resulted in the agency determinations about which regulations would be good candidates for a retrospective review.
  • Set Priorities: Identify regulations that agencies could easily modify, streamline, or rescind to address regulatory burdens or inefficiencies, and identify regulations that may be ripe for review because of changes in circumstance.
  • Integrate Regulatory Analysis into the Retrospective Review Process: For those regulations undergoing an extensive and thorough review, HHS will assist agencies in conducting a sound regulatory analysis to determine whether the regulatory activity is meeting the original objectives or whether an alternative, less prescriptive activity would achieve the same result.
  • Evaluate Regulatory Effectiveness: Per HHS, “A good and comprehensive process of retrospective review must contain an evaluation component—a way to evaluate whether the regulation is effective in curbing the behavior it seeks to minimize or in providing incentives for behavior it seeks to enhance.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) currently estimates that the revisions produced as a result of the retrospective reviews may save as much as $600 million annually and $3 billion over five years. You can find a preliminary list of regulations identified as candidates for review over the next two years on the CMS website.

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