Published on:

CMS Delays RAC Reviews of Inpatient Admissions Under the Final Rule Until End of 2013.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced during its September 26, 2013 Open Door Forum that, for a period of 90 days, CMS will not permit Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC) to review inpatient admissions of one midnight or less that begin on or after October 1, 2013. This three-month period, from October 1 through December 31, will give hospitals additional time to ensure that the necessary policies and procedures are in place to comply with CMS’s new inpatient status rules. Again, all inpatient admissions of one midnight or less will not be subject to pre-payment or post-payment review by the RACs.

As an effort to provide guidance and education to hospitals about the new inpatient rules, CMS will instruct the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) to review 10 to 25 inpatient hospitals claims, per hospital, spanning less than two midnights after admission with dates of admission between October 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. These probe reviews will be conducted by the MACs to determine whether the medical necessity of the patient status complied with the 2-midnight benchmark. The probe samples will be utilized by the MACs to evaluate hospitals’ compliance with the new inpatient rule and provide feedback to CMS to determine what additional guidance needs to be developed. If the MAC identifies issues from its review of a hospital’s inpatient admission claims, the MAC will conduct education for that hospital, as well as any additional follow up deemed necessary.

Wachler & Associates will continue to monitor any further developments regarding CMS’s new inpatient admission rule. In the meantime, hospitals should use the additional three-month implementation period to ensure its admission and documentation protocols comply with the new inpatient admission standards and certification and order requirements. If you need assistance in developing an effective compliance program, or need help navigating through the complexities of the new inpatient admission rule, please contact an experienced health care attorney at Wachler & Associates via phone (248-544-0888) or email (wapc@wachler.com).