A recent executive order heralded by the American Hospital Association that requires federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one instituted has been challenged in court by Public Citizen, a union and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The three organizations, which include the Communications Workers of America, have sued the Trump Administration to stop the so-called “one in, two out” executive order. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The complaint alleges that implementation of the order would violate the statutes under which the agencies operate and the Administrative Procedure Act. The groups have asked the court to find that the order cannot be legally enforced and bar federal agencies from implementing it.
The groups also take issue with the requirement that new rules have a net cost of $0 this fiscal year, “without taking into account the value of the benefits of public protections.”
"No one thinking sensibly about how to set rules for health, safety, the environment and the economy would ever adopt the Trump Executive Order approach – unless their only goal was to confer enormous benefits on big business,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a press release Wednesday.
AHA CEO Rick Pollack has been one of the most-vocal supporters of one in, two out. He said last week that the hospital industry is overburdened with regulations, pointing to 23,531 pages of new regulations affecting hospitals and health systems that were codified in 2016 alone.
Pollack said reduced regulations would lead to lower costs and less paperwork for healthcare professionals.
Donna K. Thiel, a shareholder in the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Baker Donelson, said healthcare is over-regulated and leaders must constantly adjust to "decreased payments, new reporting requirements and new controls on where and how healthcare can be provided and by whom." "The thought of a reduction in those rules and regulations seems welcome, even if it to slow down the progress of the regulations to give the industry a chance to recover and breathe from the last set of changes, Thiel said. "Compliance with so many rules is irrationally expensive and the penalties for non-compliance can be devastating."
Trade groups for various healthcare sectors, including medical devices and physician services, each has a wish-list of regulations that they would like to see eliminated first.
The AHA would like to see cancellation of stage 3 of the “meaningful use” program, which outlines requirements for provider use of electronic health records.
The Medical Group Management Association would like physician credentialing standardized across all payers by eliminating Medicare's PECOS system (and the related regulatory scheme) in favor of the industry standard CAQH.