Senate Finance Committee Seeks Feedback on Fighting Fraud & Abuse as They Look at ZPICs


Reposted from email blast received May 2, 2012.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2012
CONTACT:  Julia Lawless/Antonia Ferrier (Hatch)              (202) 224-4515
                            Communications Office (Baucus)                          (202) 224-4515 

HATCH, BAUCUS LEAD FINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS IN BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO COMBAT WASTE, FRAUD, & ABUSE IN
MEDICARE & MEDICAID PROGRAMS
In an open letter to members of the health care community Senators write, “Drawing on the collective wisdom and accumulated insights of thousands of professionals and individual experiences could offer a fresh perspective and potentially identify solutions that may have been overlooked or underutilized.”


WASHINGTON – Today, six members of the Senate Finance Committee, led by Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), announced a bipartisan effort to begin soliciting ideas from interested stakeholders in the health care community regarding effective solutions to improve federal efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Joining Hatch and Baucus in the effort are:  Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Tom Carper (D-Del.).

In an open letter to members of the health care community, the Senators wrote, “We believe federal efforts would be strengthened by input from members across the health care community – providers, payers, health plans, contractors, non-profit entities, consumers, data analytics entities, governmental partners, and patients. Drawing on the collective wisdom and accumulated insights of thousands of professionals and individual experiences could offer a fresh perspective and potentially identify solutions that may have been overlooked or underutilized.”

This week, the lawmakers invited interested stakeholders to submit white papers offering recommendations and innovative solutions to improve program integrity efforts, strengthen payment reforms, and enhance fraud and abuse enforcement efforts. Submissions are due by June 29, 2012. A summary document highlighting key proposals will be compiled and released later this year.

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

To view a signed copy of the letter click HERE.

Below is the full text of the letter:

May 2, 2012

To Members of the Health Care Community:

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), few programs are as much at risk for fraud, waste and abuse as the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Estimates of the amount of fraud and misspending in these programs vary widely, from $20 billion to as much as $100 billion. Just this week, testimony before the Senate Finance Committee underscored the seriousness of this problem, as witnesses testified that while much has been accomplished in the fight against fraud and abuse, much more needs to be done.  As Senators and members of the Finance Committee, we have a duty to ensure that taxpayer funds are being spent wisely.

Combating fraud in Medicare and Medicaid has long been a challenge for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (HHS OIG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).  To date, numerous efforts have been made to reduce fraud, yielding a mixed record of successes and failures.  We believe federal efforts would be strengthened by input from members across the health care community – providers, payers, health plans, contractors, non-profit entities, consumers, data analytics entities, governmental partners, and patients. Drawing on the collective wisdom and accumulated insights of thousands of professionals and individual experiences could offer a fresh perspective and potentially identify solutions that may have been overlooked or underutilized.

Today we are announcing an effort to solicit ideas from all interested stakeholders in the health care community, regarding solutions and suggestions for how to better prevent and combat the multi-billion dollar problem of waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  We invite you to submit white papers offering your best ideas, built on years of experience and insight.  We want to know what areas you see for improvement in current program integrity efforts, as well as additional solutions that we should consider. Working together, we hope to identify innovative solutions that will provide taxpayers with a better return on the investments being made to combat the overpayments in these federal health care programs.

Below are the general categories in which we seek input, though some recommendations may include multiple categories:

&#61623      Program Integrity Reforms to Protect Beneficiaries and Prevent Fraud and Abuse

&#61623      Payment Integrity Reforms to Ensure Accuracy, Efficiency and Value

&#61623      Fraud and Abuse Enforcement Reforms to Ensure Tougher Penalties Against Those Who Commit Fraud

 

Entities interested in submitting white papers should email a PDF or Microsoft Word document to ProgramIntegrityWhitePapers@finance.senate.gov by June 29, 2012.  Submissions should include summary information about the entity or individual submitting a white paper, as well as phone and email contact information. White papers should be as succinct and concrete as possible.  When possible, please include cost-benefit or potential savings information.  Our staff will review submissions and compile a summary document highlighting key proposals later this year.

We appreciate your submission of thoughtful and constructive solutions, as we work to conduct targeted oversight to improve federal efforts to reduce fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid. Together, we believe we can improve program integrity and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.

Sincerely,

BAUCUS
HATCH
COBURN
WYDEN
GRASSLEY
CARPER

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Patient Visits: Changes, Increase Revenue, & Ordered Services


“15 MINUTE THOUGHT”

New Patient Visit Requirements: Increase Your Revenue

MAS is pioneering an informational program that you can listen to over a cup of coffee while you organize your day or on your drive to work. The name of the program is “15 Minute Thought”.  These calls will be free and informative.  Our focus is to give you a new thought once per month to help improve your business during these tough regulatory times.  The call participation should be maintained although CME/CEUs are not attached, it documentation of education efforts.

We will discuss health care reform changes that impact the requirements for patient visits, date last seen, and chart documentation.  We will discuss how to make lemonade out these lemons!  We need to cease the opportunity to increase revenues out of these changes.  Spend 15 minutes and learn about changes that can stop your payments as well as how to increase your revenue.

Program your Phone and Calendar:

The 2nd* and 3rd Wednesday Every Month

July 21, 2010  at 8:30am-8:45am CST

Speaker:          Angela Miller, CHC, Compliance & Billing Expert & Edward Vishnevetsky of Thompson Coe

MAS Conference Call Dial-in#:         218-862-1300

Conference Code:                               622911

MAS Office number:                          972-459-1508

Who should call in?

All health care provider, Health care business owner or manager, Physicians, Home Health, DME, HME, Attorneys, Compliance Officer, and Office Managers

Follow MAS Blog for Schedule & Updates.  You can “follow” MAS on all social media and new blog links are published.  We only publish useful information and breaking news.

Blog:  http://www.angelamillermas.wordpress.com or via website
Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/medicalauditingsolutions
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/AngelaMiller.MAS

Edward L. Vishnevetsky has extensive experience in the area of health law and commercial litigation. He routinely argues before state and federal courts in areas of health law, employment law, and complex commercial litigation, and also represents hospitals, physicians, durable medical equipment (DME) providers and manufacturers before various state and federal regulatory agencies. Edward advises health care clients on operational matters, liability exposure, privacy issues, federal and state health care regulatory compliance, health care reimbursement disputes, as well as risk management issues. He has represented individuals, physician groups, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, sleep laboratories, dialysis clinics, independent diagnostic testing facilities, and DME suppliers.

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 through compliance program development, management and training.  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.

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.