In a move to stop "micromanaging" New York healthcare providers, Gov. George Pataki last week unveiled a 16-point plan aimed at easing regulatory constraints.
The proposed reforms result from a review of existing health regulations and paperwork requirements conducted by Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., the state's new commissioner of health, and Robert L. King, the governor's director of regulatory reform.
The state Department of Health estimates the plan will save more than $100 million annually.
While hospitals welcomed the effort, they questioned the magnitude of savings because some of the proposals will require legislative action and may take time to implement.
DeBuono, a speaker at last week's annual meeting of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said she was struck by "the enormity and voluminous nature" of regulatory oversight in the state.
One proposed reform would streamline the state's certificate-of-need process, reducing approval times to 120 days from an average of two years.
Another measure would allow alternative methods to meet a requirement that hospital staff meet individually with patients to explain their rights. The state suggested using videos and in-house television channels.
While the state seeks to loosen some regulatory constraints, hospitals are lobbying for protections to help them prepare for the state's movement to a mandated Medicaid managed-care system (See related story, p. 28).
Kenneth E. Raske, the GNYHA's president, said he's worried that as the state moves to a competitive bidding system for Medicaid managed-care plans, "we are going to lose hospitals in places that we can't afford to lose them." The state filed its Medi-caid waiver application with HCFA on March 17.