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CMS seeks public comment on promoting efficiency, advancing equity


Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a Request for Information seeking public input on accessing healthcare and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity, and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The “Make Your Voice Heard: Promoting Efficiency and Equity Within CMS Programs” RFI stems from President Biden’s January 2021 executive order on advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities.

What the RFI aims to do is gather feedback and perspectives on the challenges of achieving equity, which CMS said would inform its efforts to encourage innovation, reduce burden and create efficiencies in the U.S. healthcare system.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT

Disparities in health and healthcare continue despite decades of research and widespread efforts to improve health outcomes. Many populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, members of federally-recognized Native American tribes, people with disabilities, patients seeking substance use and mental health services, individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and those living in rural and underserved areas are more likely to experience challenges accessing healthcare services, lower quality of care, and below average health outcomes when compared to the general population, said CMS.

The agency said it’s seeking to better understand individual and community-level burdens, health-related social needs, and opportunities for improvement that can reduce disparities and promote efficiency and innovation across its programs. To that end, CMS is requesting information related to strategies that successfully address drivers of health inequities, including opportunities to address social determinants of health, and the challenges underserved communities face in accessing quality care.

For example, challenges accessing care may include understanding coverage options, receiving culturally and linguistically appropriate care, accessing oral health services, and accessing comprehensive and timely healthcare services and medication.

CMS also seeks to better understand the factors impacting provider wellness, and learn more about the distribution of the healthcare workforce. According to the agency, it’s particularly interested in understanding the greatest challenges for healthcare workers in meeting the needs of individuals, and the impact of CMS policies on provider experiences.

THE LARGER TREND

The comments will be used to identify areas of improvement, CMS said, and it hopes to learn how specific programs have benefited providers and practices.

The RFI is open for a 60-day public comment period beginning Tuesday, September 6. Comments must be received by November 4 to be considered.
 

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com





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