(HealthDay News) — Hospital medical staff members need to consider the impact of a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that revised the conditions of participation for hospitals and made two major changes to the hospital governance, according to an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The rule relates to allowing multi-hospital systems to have a unified system-wide medical staff, which under the regulations may be possible only if the medical staff votes in favor. Medical staff incorporated into a unified structure may opt out by vote at any point and re-establish a hospital-specific staff. The rule also requires the hospital governing body to consult at least twice a year with an individual assigned responsibility for medical staff.

According to the article, issues to consider include specification of who the individual assigned responsibility for medical staff is; becoming familiar with the rule’s requirements, such as knowing the potential benefits and disadvantages of unifying with other medical staff within the system; and obtaining resources and assistance relating to these issues.

“The AMA, along with more than 80 other medical associations, sent CMS a letter on the final rule in July, asking the agency to give the rule more thought and institute an immediate delay before implementation,” according to the article. “The AMA continues to advocate for regulations to protect the autonomy of medical staffs.”

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