The Office of the Secretary within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a request for information (RFI) seeking comments on the regulatory relief actions HHS has taken to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the health care industry. Of note, Appendix A of the RFI includes a list of 382 actions that have been taken. The RFI is pursuant to the Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery Executive Order (EO) (WHG client summary) issued earlier this year instructing agencies to identify regulatory requirements that might inhibit economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
HHS is interested in gathering feedback and evidence from stakeholders to help the agency properly assess the need for these changes on a temporary, permanent, or permanent but with modification, basis. The agency notes that it will also consider phasing out or suspending regulatory changes with documented negative impacts that overshadow the benefit of the change on a temporary basis, or would have negative impacts that outweigh the benefits if continued beyond the PHE.
Commenters are asked to respond to several key questions, including which changes:
- Have been beneficial to health care or human services providers, systems, or patients, and under what conditions;
- Have been detrimental to health care or human services providers, systems, or patients, and under what conditions;
- Have been beneficial to health care or human services providers, systems, or patients, and under what conditions on a temporary basis, but would be detrimental if continued, absent the demands of the COVID-19 PHE and pandemic;
- Should be maintained only for the duration of the PHE and pandemic;
- Should be made permanent;
- Should be extended for a period of time after the end of the PHE or pandemic without being made permanent;
- Should be modified but maintained after the end of the PHE or pandemic (including the modifications proposed); or
- Should be immediately withdrawn.
HHS requests that stakeholders provide evidence where possible and explain their rationale. Respondents are also asked to identify changes that should only be discontinued following a transition period and to recommend the type of transition period needed.
Comments are due by December 25.