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Reducing prescription drug costs, reducing administrative burden both key for CMS

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CMS Administrator Seema Verma said this weekend the agency is actively looking for ways to address rising prescription drug costs and burdensome regulations.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said this weekend the agency is actively looking for ways to address rising prescription drug costs and burdensome regulations. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in New Orleans, Verma said: "Through all of our works and efforts, CMS strives to help ensure that the American health care system remains the best in the world. We know people travel from all over the globe to receive health care services here, because they understand that our doctors are amongst the finest in the world." Spending on prescription medications has been rising faster than spending in any other area of Medicare. Ophthalmologists, who rely heavily on Medicare Part B for physician-administered drugs, are the second largest prescribers in Part B. "In therapeutic areas where competitors exist, either for multiple branded products or for branded products and generic products, market forces limit the amount by which prices can increase. Therefore, we're identifying opportunities to increase competition in Medicare Part B and Part D, as well as in the Medicaid program, to help market forces lower drug costs," Verma said. She also noted that regulatory burdens have led to physicians spending more time on compliance than caring for patients. CMS publishes more than 11,000 pages of regulations each year, according to Verma. CMS announced earlier this year the "Patients over Paperwork" effort to review various organizations' regulations and look for ways to reduce burden, Verma said. "We've also recently announced our new complementary initiative, Meaningful Measures. This effort takes a new approach to quality measurement to reduce the burden of reporting on providers like yourselves," she said.

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