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OIG 2013 Work Plan Includes Reviews of Long-Term Care Providers

Editor’s Note: This is part of a week long series exploring the impact of the OIG 2013 Work Plan on different types of providers and organizations.

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) released the OIG’s annual Work Plan. The Work Plan includes the reviews and activities that the OIG plans to conduct during fiscal year 2013. The OIG’s 2013 Work Plan will likely affect long term care providers because some of the issues, as described below, target long term care providers.

HHAs–Home Health Face-to-Face Requirement:
The OIG will examine the frequency with which home health agencies are complying with face-to-face requirements. Physicians, or permissible allied health practitioners, are required to have face-to-face encounters with beneficiaries receiving home health care within statutorily mandated time frames. Past OIG reviews have indicated that compliance with face-to-face requirements has been low.

Long -TermCare Hospitals–Payments for Interrupted Stays:
The OIG will determine if inappropriate payments were made by Medicare for interrupted stays in long-term care hospitals, and attempt to identify patterns of readmission directly following interrupted stays. When a patient is discharged from a long-term care hospital to receive services that are not available at the long-term care hospital, and then readmitted, Medicare payment amounts can be affected. Past OIG reviews have identified weaknesses in the ability to detect these inappropriate payments.

Home Health Services–Duplicate Payments by Medicare and Medicaid:
The OIG will determine the frequency with which both Medicare and Medicaid have paid for the same Medicare-covered home health services.

Long term care providers should also be aware of other issues that appear in the 2013 Work Plan. These include:

• Nursing Homes–State Agency Verification of Deficiency Corrections • Nursing Homes–Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs • Nursing Homes–Oversight of the Minimum Data Set Submitted by Long-Term-Care Facilities • HHAs–Employment of Home Health Aides With Criminal Convictions

Long term care providers should anticipate that OIG review of these issues may to lead to additional focus by CMS and its contractors. Long-term care providers should review current compliance programs or implement a compliance program if they do not already have one to prepare for CMS’ increased attention.

If you need assistance reviewing, creating, or implementing a compliance plan, or have questions about how the OIG Work Plan could affect you, please contact an experienced Wachler & Associates healthcare attorney at 248-544-0888.