Keep Tabs on CMS Initiative to Reduce Paperwork

January 25, 2018 10:36 am News Staff

It's safe to say that family physicians give a universal thumbs down to the paperwork nightmare that the AAFP is fighting hard to tame. That said, when CMS announced a new initiative last fall dubbed Patients Over Paperwork,( even skeptics were bound to be interested in its progress.

[massive stack of paperwork in binder]

As the name suggests, the agency aims to use this program to reduce burdensome regulations and streamline federal requirements; that, in turn, should shrink the piles of paperwork that keep physicians from their patients.

At the initiative's rollout, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, M.P.H., admitted that the agency publishes nearly 11,000 pages of regulations each year.

Now, there's an easy way for physicians to keep an eye on improvements that are taking place. In December 2017, CMS launched a newsletter to ensure physician connectivity, and this month, the agency took advantage of the January issue( to urge physicians to get the newsletter in their email inbox free of change.

Sign up for the newsletter today.( The latest issue covers topics that include

  • quality measures,
  • the Quality Payment Program (QPP),
  • appropriate use criteria for advanced diagnostic imaging,
  • documentation review, and
  • quality and safety oversight.

Topics are addressed in an easy-to-follow "You said" and "We heard you" format that cuts right to the issues that need attention.

For instance, CMS reported that physicians and the organizations that represent them told the agency in no uncertain terms that quality programs had too many measures that were not meaningful to patients or providers, and that reporting on these measures stole valuable time away from patient care.

To fix the problem, CMS said it took steps in 2017 to reduce the number of quality measures in its programs and would continue that effort in 2018.

In another example, physicians told CMS that quality and payment programs were confusing and data submission was overly complicated.

In response, CMS noted that it consolidated the QPP data submission experience and that beginning in 2018, physicians were able to log on to one site -- --( to submit data to satisfy all Merit-based Incentive Payment systems' reporting requirements.

Want to read the newsletter without signing up for the email? CMS maintains an archive( of the Patients Over Paperwork newsletter beginning with the December 2017 issue.(  

Related AAFP News Coverage
New CMS Initiatives Tackle Two AAFP Hot Button Issues
Introducing Meaningful Measures, Patients Over Paperwork


Leader Voices Blog: Let Us Focus on Patients, Not Paperwork