Menendez: “New Medical Red Tape Could Be A Posion Pill For NJ Patients”

Menendez: “New Medical Red Tape Could Be A Posion Pill For NJ Patients”

New Signature Requirements Could Create Headaches for Medical Labs and Doctors

In Official Letter, Senator Urges a Delay in Enforcement New Rules

Washington - With New Jersey patients and labs on the cusp of facing an additional level of medical red tape, US Senator Robert Menendez today called for federal officials to consider a delay in enforcement of new signature requirement until addressing certain concerns. Menendez said the additional bureaucracy could be a "poison pill for New Jersey's patients and businesses."

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, (FULL LETTER BELOW), Senator Menendez pointed out that new protocols, including the requirement that the ordering physician sign additional laboratory paperwork, may cause a series of problems.

POSSIBLE HEADACHES CREATED BY THE NEW REQUIREMENTS:
-Run-around for patients who report to a laboratory without the necessary signatures
-Delays in providing test results to patients needing to make quick health care decisions
-Added bureaucratic headaches for medical laboratories seeking payment for services
-Confusion among patients in different segments of the medical community, including home health settings in which the physician is often not on site

CMS, under the Department of Health and Human Services, requires a currently-practicing doctor's signature for tests on blood, fluids, etc. Without an official signature, patients might not be able access their results and labs could not receive reimbursement.

CMS began requiring the additional signature just months ago. And then, citing concerns, CMS recently granted a three-month delay in order to give doctors and laboratories additional time to adjust to the new protocols.

Senator Menendez said, "In medicine, our goal should be to cure the sick, not create headaches. Yet this medical red tape could be a poison pill for New Jersey's patients, doctors, and businesses. While I'm glad there has been a three-month delay, we should really be discussing a longer delay until we can work through all the concerns surrounding this new rule."

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