The Trump Administration has recently adopted new limits on the use of guidance documents for federal agencies. Guidance documents are the government’s interpretation of rules and laws that apply to agencies and related businesses.
Federal agencies have issued hundreds of guidance documents on a host of laws which cover issues like healthcare, civil rights, and labor.
These changes will most likely have a significant impact on the agencies which oversee healthcare industries, like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the Department and Health & Human Services, because these agencies rely heavily on these documents to operate.
For instance, the Department of Health & Human Services has issued guidance documents for hospitals, nursing homes, and drug companies for a variety of different procedures. The documents are used as guidebooks for how businesses and agencies should operate, and in turn, have been used by the Justice Department and lawyers to enforce proper functioning and punish violations.
The changes could potentially weaken the operation of these agencies and businesses and in turn, negatively affect their proper functioning for the public. This is not good news for health and welfare beneficiaries such as Medicare and Medicaid recipients and nursing home residents.
Please see the NY Times article for more information about this issue.