Thirteen medical societies and several senior citizen advocacy groups have requested that CMS delay the enforcement of the new face-to-face encounter requirement. These groups are seeking to delay the effective date to no sooner than July 1, 2011. This new requirement stipulates that physicians, or a nurse practitioner working with the physician, conduct an in person consultation before the patient is covered by Medicare for certain procedures. The requirement, which was enacted by the Affordable Care Act, was already delayed from its original effective date of January 1, 2011, to April 1, 2011. For a full explanation of the rule and its requirments, please see a recently authored article by Wachler & Associates attorneys Amy K. Fehn and Jennifer Colagiovanni entitled New Audit Risk for Home Health Agencies: Face to Face Certification Requirements.
Regardless of whether the new rule is delayed, having an up to date and effective compliance program will be necessary to ensure Medicare coverage of services. To review an existing compliance program, or create a new program, contact an attorney at Wachler & Associates at 248-544-0888.