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Congressional Committee Requests GAO Study of CMS Contractor Redundancies

Members of the United States House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a request on June 26, 2012 to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a study of redundancy in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contractor audits. The request included four specific questions that, at a minimum, the committee wants studied:

1. What process does CMS use to determine whether the contractors’ audit criteria and methodologies are valid, clear, and consistent?

2. How does CMS coordinate among these contractors to ensure that their interactions with providers are not duplicative? Is there any evidence of providers being subjected to multiple overlapping audits on the same topic? If so, how frequently does this occur? Is there any justification for a single provider being audited by multiple contractors at the same time?

3. What are the reasons for requesting that similar information be submitted to multiple contractors? Are there steps CMS is taking to limit duplicative audits, while still ensuring contractors have the tools necessary to pursue program integrity efforts?

4. Does CMS have a strategic plan to coordinate and oversee all of its audit activities and, if so, how is that plan implemented and overseen?

The request asks that all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services contractors be studied, including Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs), Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs), Program Safeguard Contractors (PSCs), and Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Review contractors (CERTs).

The request asks that the GAO, “undertake a study that focuses on coordination among contractor efforts and CMS efforts to oversee these contractors to ensure that they are working efficiently and effectively while guaranteeing that beneficiaries are receiving care to which they are entitled.”

If you have questions about CMS contractors or audits please contact an experienced healthcare attorney at Wachler & Associates at 248-544-0888.