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CMS Announces New Start Date for Prior Authorization of PMDs and Recovery Audit Prepayment Review Demonstration Programs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the Prior Authorization of Power Mobility Devices (PMDs) and the Recovery Audit Prepayment Review Demonstration Programs are expected to move forward on or after June 1, 2012. On December 30, 2011, the two demonstrations were delayed from their initial January 1, 2012 start date. Although CMS initially announced the demonstration programs in November 2011, CMS decided to delay the programs’ implementations after receiving considerable feedback from the provider communities affected by the programs.

In its most recent announcement, CMS stated that the demonstrations programs will begin once they receive Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Office of Management and Budget control numbers.

The Prior Authorization of PMDs demonstration program will be initiated in California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. These are all states with high populations of fraud- and error- prone providers. The demonstration will implement a prior authorization process for scooters and power wheelchairs.

As a result of comments CMS received from providers and suppliers, significant modifications have been made to the Prior Authorization of PMDs demonstration program. Most importantly for suppliers, the 100% pre-payment review phase has been removed. Many interested parties had raised the concern that suppliers would be adversely financially impacted by the 100% pre-payment review phase, thus CMS eliminated it and the demonstration will begin immediately with the prior authorization phase. There was also concern regarding the inconsistency of suppliers in some states experiencing 100% pre-payment review, while suppliers in other states were required to receive prior authorizations. The pre-payment review phase was planned to last from between three to nine months for each state, so while one state might only be in that phase for three months, another state might be for nine. As a result, all demonstration states will start prior authorization at approximately the same time instead of the staggered start times as originally planned.

CMS also received many concerns about the ordering physician possibly not being in the best position to submit the prior authorization request. Under the modified demonstration, the physician/treating practitioner or supplier, on behalf of the physician/treating practitioner, may perform the administrative function of submitting the prior authorization request.

The Pre-Payment Review Demonstration Program did not receive any significant changes and will be implemented as proposed in November.

For more information on prior authorization, pre-payment review, or other CMS demonstrations, please contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888.