WHA Comment Letter Focuses on Need to Reduce Compliance Burden

July 23, 2019

WHA offered in a comment letter to the Department of Health Services (DHS) to partner with DHS on a broad and systemicfocused effort to review and simplify Wisconsin’s health care regulations and guidance.

The comment letter sent on July 15 was in response to DHS posting 981 existing DHS guidance documents in a single location. DHS posted the guidance documents to fulfill new requirements under s. 227.112 for all state agencies to post and seek public comment on existing guidance documents.

“[C]ompiling all 981 DHS guidance documents illustrates the significant complexity and compliance challenges that health care providers, patients, and others face in navigating the health care regulatory environment in Wisconsin,” wrote WHA. “Just as DHS is expending significant time and resources to catalogue and review all 981 of its guidance documents, health care providers also expend significant time and resources to track, review and maintain compliance with not only these guidance documents but also Wisconsin statutes and regulations governing health care.

“Regulatory and compliance complexity and burden adds overhead costs to the health care system, reduces time spent by clinicians on clinical care, and stymies innovation in the delivery of health care services,” said the WHA letter. “Overall, more attention needs to be given to regulatory impacts on the complete health care delivery system and how hundreds of perceived small incremental costs quickly add up to significant cost and complexity.”

Given the volume of guidance documents and short 21-day comment period, WHA did not individually comment on the guidance documents, but instead offered to work with DHS to systematically review by topic existing regulatory and compliance requirements. The letter pointed to previous and ongoing partnerships between DHS and WHA to simplify and update regulations, such as DHS 124 hospital regulations, advanced practice clinician orders for Medicaid, and telemedicine guidance.

“Reducing regulatory complexity and costs is important to reducing health care costs, enabling innovation, and freeing clinicians to use their time to provide patient care,” wrote WHA. “WHA stands ready to assist DHS in undertaking a systemic review and simplification of Wisconsin’s health care regulations and guidance.”

See a list of the 981 DHS guidance documents and WHA’s comment letter.

If you have questions about the guidance documents or WHA’s comment letter, contact WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford at 608-274-1820.

This story originally appeared in the July 23, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter