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Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations Hearing Reveals Startling Negative Impact on Small Health Care Providers

Subcommittee Hearing Recap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations, held a hearing titled “Burdensome Red Tape: Overregulation in Health Care and the Impact on Small Businesses.” Subcommittee Chairman Van Duyne issued the following statement after the hearing:

“During yesterday’s hearing, the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations found something rare in Washington: agreement between both parties on the need to cut through the red tape that’s making it all but impossible for small, private health care practices to stay afloat,” said Subcommittee Chairman Van Duyne. “I’d like to thank Carrollton’s very own, Dr. Henry Punzi, for joining us in Washington today – time spent away from his patients – to share his experience keeping his doors open despite the overburdensome regulations piled on by an alphabet soup of federal agencies. These regulations threaten the very existence of America’s small health care providers, who play an important role in our health care system. I will continue to fight to get Washington off Main Street’s back, improve our health care system by empowering patients and providers, and to preserve the American dream for the next great generation of entrepreneurs.”


Below are some key excerpts from yesterday's hearing:

Chairman Van Duyne: “Dr. Punzi, you talked a little bit about this in your testimony. I know that we have talked extensively about this during our roundtable meetings, but can you talk to me a little bit on the administrative burden that you are seeing in your office? You talked specifically about the percentage of time that you spend on that, but I'm also interested in finding out about your staff's work on that versus actual patient work.” Dr. Punzi: “So I have five staff members. One is specifically geared towards my research because the FDA, the amount of paperwork that is utilized for the studies has significantly increased. So, she does specifically that, and I have two employees, two medical assistants that help me out. And then they split half and half. So half is being able to see the patients. The other half is trying to do either prior authorizations with medications or prior authorization with procedures, X-rays. So, we're not really heavy procedure wise, but we've got to do that.”

Rep. Crane: “My question to start with is for all three of you. Is it possible, in your opinion, to shift back from this model that seems bent on consolidation, monopolization, top-down control and back towards a health care system that is focused on our patients? Sir, I will start with you.” Dr. Punzi: “I think we can and again, we go back to as a small business, being able to survive and stay afloat. So, I think that if the issue of reimbursement really kind of improved, especially with the issue of CMS, I think that would be very helpful to allow individual physicians to stay in practice.” Dr. Miller: “Absolutely. We have to dive down into the deep regulatory weeds and sort of clean out the garden. We also have to look at sort of big picture market dynamic questions like physician owned hospitals and stark law.” Mr. Fielder: “I think it's absolutely possible to make progress on these questions. I think part of that is reducing administrative burdens. I think part of that is addressing other problems in our system, like the fact that, you know, if the hospital buys up the local physician practice, it can now charge more for those services than it could before, which is a powerful incentive pushing towards consolidation.”

Chairman Williams: “So, Dr. Miller, question, given your past experience of government agencies and you've talked to them about this today, again, how do you think we can ensure agencies take their responsibility to lessen the impact on small businesses? They develop new regulations understanding that less regulations means more margins, more service, a better business.” Dr. Miller: “I think aggressive, healthy, and intellectually curious oversight, especially of CMS, the rules are 2000 pages long. And I think that that in and of itself says how challenging the spaces.”