Articles Tagged with medicaid

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A proposed bipartisan bill, titled the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures (PRIME) Act, is aimed at combatting waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid spending. If passed, the PRIME Act would continue CMS’ efforts to move away from the “pay and chase” model of combatting improper payments towards the more aggressive “prevent and detect” model.

The PRIME Act would enact a range of reforms designed to proactively target improper payments, including fraud, within the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The reforms include, for example, engaging Medicare beneficiaries in identifying waste and fraud through a program called the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The bill also seeks to administer harsher penalties for instances of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, as well as identify theft and the sale or distribution of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiary ID numbers.

In a press release addressing the bill, Rep. Peter Roskam (R Ill.) announced,

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On Monday, September 16, 2013, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law legislation that will expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents. Medicaid expansion is a national effort initiated through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act increases available federal funding for states that choose to expand eligibility levels for Medicaid coverage. Medicaid expansion was made mandatory under the Act in 2010, but in a 2012 Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Roberts held that Congress may not penalize states that choose not to participate in Medicaid expansion. As a result of this Supreme Court decision, Congress may not take away a state’s existing Medicaid funding.

If Michigan receives approval and federal waivers from the Obama administration, Michigan will have access to more than a billion dollars a year in federal funding. Beginning in 2014, the Medicaid coverage for newly-eligible adults will be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years, and will be phased down to 90% by 2020. The expansion will cover adults that earn up to 133% of the poverty level, which equates to about $15,500 for an individual and approximately $31,000 for a family of four.

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In August 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a study addressing problems and vulnerabilities in Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) activities, as well as their oversight by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). RACs are tasked with identifying improper payments and are paid on a contingency fee basis according to their findings. RACs are also obligated to refer potential fraud to CMS.

The report addresses RACs’ efforts at identifying improper payments and potential fraud for the fiscal years (FYs) 2010-2011 and emphasizes the importance of effective CMS oversight over the RACs. The OIG set out to discover and report on four main objectives, including the extent to which:

1. RACs identified improper payments for services billed to the Medicare program;

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On Tuesday, September 3, 2013, the Michigan House gave final legislative approval to Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This legislation, House Bill 4714, is expected to be signed by Governor Rick Snyder in the coming weeks.

The Affordable Care Act increases federal funding for states that increase eligibility standards for Medicaid enrollment. As passed in 2010, Medicaid expansion was mandatory under the Act, but was subsequently made option by a 2012 Supreme Court decision. CMS administration has announced that states do not have a deadline for deciding whether or not to expand, and in addition, states are free to terminate expansion with financial penalty from the federal government.

Federal funds are available as early as January 1, 2014, but Michigan will likely delay implementation until the spring. According to a Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency analysis published in March that examines the Snyder Administration’s proposed expansion of Michigan’s Medicaid program, the state’s decision to expand could cover an additional 400,000 Michigan residents by means of $1.7 billion in federal funding. Wachler & Associates will continue to keep you updated on Michigan’s decision to expand Medicaid enrollment and other significant healthcare law news. Please subscribe to the Wachler & Associates health law blog by adding your email address and clicking “Subscribe” in the window on the top right of this page.

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Last Friday, the vice president of legal affairs for the American Health Care Association (AHCA), Dianna De La Mare, reported that CMS will be combining the integrity responsibilities of the Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs) and the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) into one integrity contractor. These newly designated integrity contractors, the Unified Program Integrity Contractors (UPIC), will focus on both Medicare and Medicaid integrity issues. Dianna De La Mar also reported that the new UPICs will encompass the MAC integrity responsibilities and will retire the Medicaid Integrity Contractors (MICs).

Follow the Wachler & Associates Health Law Blog for updates on UPICs and other important health law issues. If you have any questions regarding how UPICs may affect your practice, please contact an experienced health care attorney at Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888.

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On July 9, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the 2014 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rule (CMS -1601-P). This 718 page document advocates for a shift in the Medicare OPPS and Medicare ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment system to foster payment efficiency. In the United States, over 4,000 hospitals are paid through the OPPS and close to 5,000 Medicare-participating ASCs are paid though the ASC payment system.

According to the proposed rule, the statutorily mandated proposition (by Section 1833(t) of the Social Security Act) aims “to implement applicable statutory requirements and changes arising from… continuing experience with these systems.” Policies, provisions, and program requirements CMS wishes to update and refine include:

• Payment weights and conversion factors for services payable under OPPS • ASC payment rates • Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program • ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program • Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program • Conditions for coverage (CfCs) for organ procurement organizations (OPOs)

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently announced that it expects to recover an estimated $3.8 billion in overall recoveries for the first half of fiscal year 2013. This report covers October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.

The OIG’s semiannual report is released every 6 months to keep Congress and the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius informed of the OIG’s important findings, recommendations, and activities. In connection with its Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, and reviews, the OIG anticipates $521 million in audit receivables and $3.28 billion in investigative receivables.

In the report’s introductory message, Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson attributed the department’s success to the OIG’s cooperative activities and effective partnerships with organizations such as the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). The OIG featured the following items in its semiannual report:

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On April 27, 2012 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule that states new provider and supplier requirements. The final rule requires all providers and suppliers that qualify for a National Provider Identifier (NPI) to include their NPI on all enrollment applications for Medicare or Medicaid, and on all claims submitted for payment. The rule further states that any claim submitted without the appropriate NPIs will be denied. The final rule also requires that all prescriptions under Medicare Part D include an NPI for the prescribing physician. The rule is intended to help more efficiently and accurately detect fraud, and is estimated to save taxpayers an estimated $1.59 billion over ten years.

In a press release, CMS announced that the rule “ensures that only qualified, identifiable providers and suppliers can order or certify certain medical services, equipment, and supplies for people with Medicare.”

Additionally, the rule also requires that physicians and other professionals who are permitted to order and certify covered items and services for Medicare beneficiaries be enrolled in Medicare. In an effort to further track and monitor claims, Part B items and services ordered or referred by a physician or eligible professional can only be submitted if the physician or eligible professional has an approved enrollment record, or a valid opt out record in the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS).

Finally, the rule mandates document retention requirements for providers and suppliers that order and certify items and services for Medicare beneficiaries. Under the final rule providers and suppliers must maintain ordering and referring documentation, including the NPI, received from a physician or eligible non physician practitioner for seven years from the date of service. Further, failure to comply with the documentation retention requirements is reason for revocation.
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule on November 5 regarding RAC activities for Medicaid programs.  Section 6411 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires states to contract with one or more Medicaid RACs by December 31, 2010.  By that date, states are also required to submit to CMS a State Plan Amendment (SPA) which documents the initiation of the Medicaid RAC program.  The proposed rule stated April 1, 2011 as a goal for Medicaid RAC implementation.

The proposed rule addresses four main points including contingency fees, reporting, appeals and coordination of audit efforts.  Comments are requested on the current methodologies for determining the maximum contingency fees allowed under the Medicaid RAC program.  According to the proposed rule, no state will pay a contingency fee higher than the maximum allowed under the Medicare RAC program, unless it provides ample justification for an exception based on the existing state law.  States must also provide incentives for the identification of underpayments to the Medicaid payments.

In addition, under the proposed rule states will report to the federal government only the net amount of collected overpayments after contingency fees that were paid to the contractor have been subtracted from the total.  Each state will be required to refund the federal share of the net overpayment amount to the federal government.  States will also have to issue reports describing the effectiveness of their Medicaid RAC programs.

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