Numerous Physician, Physician Groups, and DME Revocations Coming


The American Health Lawyers listserv released yesterday, there are numerous revocations across physician, physician groups, and DME providers for failure to respond to 855 validation or update requests or the provider was not open or available during a sight visit.  Please ensure you or your staff open mail in a timely manner!  Be sure you take immediate action on any requests from Medicare.  Medicare periodically requests for updates, validation or new 855 payor applications be completed. If the Medicare contractor does a sight visit, you must have hours posted and the door must be unlocked and the person greeted, if it is during your business hours.   Likewise, if you are closed for vacation, post a sign on the door & answering service vacation dates and who patients should see in an emergency.  This may have come as a PECOS notice.  Think of PECOS as your online 855 submission and application management.  Educate your staff to review mail timely and notify you immediately of any requests from Medicare for any response, forms, documentation.  You as the business owner need to review it or have it reviewed.

It seems every time  we turn around there is bad news to deliver to health care providers.  This is a very scary time from audits, revocations, reimbursement cuts along with legible documentation and getting patients to come into the office for an in-person visit when they are physically not capable.  The industry is facing challenges.

Medicare must be notified if you move because they mail requests to the address on file.  Remember, an invalid telephone number or area code can result in revocation as well.  Likewise, the post office does not always deliver the mail and they do not send communication with a tracking number!

You have 30 days to submit a corrective action plan, but be proactive and do it immediately!  The Corrective Action Plan form can be located via the MAC contractor website.  If the Correction Action Plan is denied, there is no appeal!

It is crucial for you to keep your provider number because without it you will not be reimbursed and are subject to loosing other payor contracts. You have to get your number placed in good standing, but this can be a long process.  They also do not have to activate it back to the date it was turned off.  If you need help completing or validating the 855 application or working an appeal, we can help you in a cost effective manner.   We work with several health care law firms that can assist you also.  Be sure no matter who you have help you, they have experience with the application process, understand the health care industry and/or are health care attorneys.

I feel like I need to have a drink or joke of the week blog so I can bring some good uplifting news.

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.

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Medicare Timely Filing Reduced to 12 Months


As you may recall in my earlier health reform blog,  I noted that one of the several changes to be implemented was the reduction of the initial claims filing period reduced from 18 months to 12 months.  I would encourage you to read the other operational changes impacting collections noted in the blog.

Region A MAC and HCCA Compliance Weekly published the system change on May 14.  Each contractor may have a different published date but it appears that the announcements will be coming very shortly.

Note the change is RETROACTIVE to all claims on or after January 1, 2010! This would indicate that CMS has most likely directed all contractors to this announcement.  Notify your billing staff ASAP, they only have 1 year to file an initial claim.  For providers who must receive documentation from physician’s prior to billing, you must be more diligent than ever before.  If the physician’s are not providing the necessary information to bill for the services ordered, get the patient involved.  The patient can request a copy of their record at any time and can carry the order to the physician for signature.

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest private held HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.

Health Care Reform: Compliance Programs, Reduce Filing Limits, Limited Ownership


The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 signed March 23, 2010, has made significant changes to health care providers and claims filing requirements.  Remember, CMS will have to publish written notification and post implementation deadlines; however, it will make your life easier to start educating staff and changing practice now.

*  Mandatory Effective Compliance Program for ALL health care providers that bill Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded program from hospital to mental health and everyone in between.

A compliance program has been required for providers collecting $5 million or more per year in Medicaid funds collectively since 2006.

http://www.cms.gov/smdl/downloads/SMD121306.pdf

New York Office of Inspector General implemented state requirement for effective compliance program 10/1/2009. http://www.omig.state.ny.us/data/content/view/79/1/

An effective compliance program contains 7 elements which includes Compliance Officer, Compliance Committee, Code of Conduct (approx 70 pages), Policies & Procedures (50+ depending on practice), Minimum of 5 hours of training per year on specific relationship and billing topics, Auditing and Monitoring Function, Reporting Options without fear of retaliation, and a few others that are embedded in these items.  It takes at least 12 months to roll out a compliance program and about 18 months to see effectiveness.  As a note, accreditation policies typically do not include most of the elements likewise the audits typically are not coverage criteria based or risk based.

*  Physicians must have a Face to Face with patients prior to ordering DME (durable medical equipment) and HHA (Home Health) Services effective 2/23/10.  This should be taking place now; however, if not, do not wait until CMS publishes an effective date.  This is good business practice and should be implemented immediately.

*  Physicians must be a Medicare provider as of July 1 2010, if they order DME and HHA that will be billed for Medicare reimbursement.

*  Physicians must provider medical record documentation to support referral orders or be subject to a revoked Medicare supplier number for a period not greater than one year **ADDED**

*  Claim submission filing limit has been reduce from 18 months to 12 months.  Until CMS publishes an effective date, you will have 18 months.  Be on the look out.  Announced 5/14/2010

*  Expanded Stark Law regulations will limit physician ownership in hospitals as of 12/31/2010.

*  Must provide patient choice when you have diagnostic equipment in your office such as MRI, PET, CAT.

*  Stark & Anti-kickback violations will also receive penalties until Federal False Claims Act.

*  Overpayments must be refunded to Medicare/Medicaid within 60 days whether you identify the overpayments or the refund is requested.  Failure to do so is likely to result in a revoked provider number and sanction from participating with the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  This was actually part of the Patient Affordable Care Act.  CMS announced 10/15/2010 see also Cynthia Stamer’s Blog.  This announcement also has language on Self Disclosure of Self Referral practices that have taken place.

*  Have heard from several people, that Oxygen will be reduced from 36 months to 13 months.  However, I have searched the full text and amendment and cannot find it. **ADDED**

*  It will require insurance payers to reimburse preventative services at 100% with no co-pay.  Please note, this has not been published with an implementation date so continue to file claims as normal.  Patients cannot expect to receive free preventative services until their payer publishes this change!

*  It appears to me that only companies with 50 or more employees will be required to provide health insurance for all W-2 employees.  I will be interested in seeing how this turns out.   It also appears that in 2018, you will have to use the government health care program or loose tax credits of 25-35% of the premiums.  I wish I had one of this money trees in my back yard!

This covers many of the highlights that impact provider billing, but there are so many more points.  Read over the information so your are prepared.  If you find you need your compliance program reviewed and developed remember to find a consultant that focuses on ALL aspects of compliance not just a compliance program.  They need to understand billing and operations and we are one of the companies that offers an all encompassing solution to health care providers.

You can reference the full text http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/Senate_health_care_bill.pdf and amendments http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/House_reconciliation_package_031810.pdf as well as a blog from Looper, Reed, & McGraw http://www.lrmlaw.com/pdf/ALERT-Healthcare-Reform-Alert.pdf.  Search the document for key words used in bullet points.  I have also included a Timeline link that has many items bullet pointed except the ones that apply to providers and reimbursement for Medicare services http://docs.house.gov/energycommerce/TIMELINE.pdf

Angela Miller of Medical Auditing Solutions LLC has been in health care compliance, auditing, billing, collections and HIPAA for over 18 years.  Ms. Miller has made it the  focus of the business to help providers run their businesses efficiently, collect money, and maintain compliance with federal and state regulations and coverage criteria.  Ms. Miller is very experienced with Medicare & Payer audits.  Ms. Miller ran a very successful compliance program for over 5 years for the largest HME/Pharmacy provider in the US at the time.  Ms. Miller  also works as a contract compliance officer to provide an avenue to compliance training to staff, implementation of policies, as well as handling anything that affects cash flow from the initial intake to back-end collections. You can visit our website at Medical Auditing Solutions LLC.