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Showing 61 posts in Medicare.

Recap of the Webinar, "What Providers Should Know: Overpayments and the False Claims Act"

On May 24th and 25th, 2016, McBrayer held a webinar on what providers should know regarding overpayments and the False Claims Act.  Lisa English Hinkle and Chris Shaughnessy, McBrayer healthcare law attorneys, guided participants through the interplay between overpayments from various federal healthcare programs and violations of the False Claims Act that can accrue heavy penalties. For further information on this webinar, contact McBrayer’s Marketing Director, Morgan Hall, at mhall@mmlk.com or 859-231-8780.

Photo of Webinar - What Health Providers Should Know: Overpayments and the False Claims Act Click to Play

Some of the information shared by the presenters is also summarized below. More >

CMS Issues Proposed Rule to Cast a Wide Program Integrity Net

On March 1, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) quietly issued a proposed rule that would give the agency far-reaching tools in the area of program integrity enforcement. On its face, the Rule addresses enrollment and revalidation reporting requirements for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, but it also significantly increases its authority with regard to the denial or revocation of providers’ Medicare enrollment. More >

Webinar - What Health Providers Should Know: Overpayments and the False Claims Act

OverpaymentsWhen CMS released its Medicare Fee-for-Service 2015 Improper Payments Report, Kentucky’s projected overpayment rate was a hefty 15.4%, bringing Kentucky in among the top ten states for overpayment. As healthcare providers should know, failure to report identified payments can lead to violations of the False Claims Act. CMS recently finalized the infamous “60-day rule,” which governs how overpayments can become False Claims Act violations, and practitioners should be fully aware of how overpayments are identified and reported for the purposes of the rule, lest they be subject to extreme penalties. With these fraud and abuse rules working together to provide stiffer penalties for overpayments, what can practitioners do to prevent them?  More >

New Stark Law Exception Breathes Life into Primary Care, Especially in Underserved Areas

Posted In Medicaid, Medicare, Stark Laws

With the recent and significant shortages of primary care providers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently created a rather important exception to the Stark Law as a means to expand access to primary care and mental health care through incentives for non-physician practitioners.  The Stark Law prohibits referrals for Medicare and Medicaid services from physicians to other entities if the physician has a financial relationship with that entity, such as ownership, investment or a structured compensation arrangement. Under the new exception, hospitals, federally qualified health centers (“FQHCs”) and rural health clinics (“RHCs”) may give financial assistance to a physician or a physician practice to hire a non-physician provider (“NPP”), and this relief opens the door for expanded practices in primary care and mental health at a time when the need is critical. More >

CMS finalizes the 60-day overpayment rule and providers can breathe a little easier

The wait is over – in February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released its Final Rule on identifying, reporting, and returning overpayments to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This rule is the result of provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) which created a 60-day safe harbor during which providers can identify overpayments by the two major federal healthcare programs. If a provider fails to report an overpayment within 60 days of the date that it was identified, the overpayment may be considered a violation of the federal False Claims Act (“FCA” - for more information on the FCA, please read my earlier blog posts). The Final Rule implementing this provision became effective on March 14, 2016. More >

OIG Targets Questionable Billing Practices for Ambulance Services

The Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) pulled no punches in a recent report on Medicare Part B billing for ambulance transports. The September release presented a case for increased scrutiny, pointing out that Medicare has historically been vulnerable to fraud where ambulance transports are concerned. For instance, a 2006 OIG report determined that 25% of billed ambulance transports did not meet Medicare requirements in Calendar Year 2002. That year, Medicare paid almost $3 billion for ambulance services, and improper payments accounted for an estimated $402 million of that total. As 2012 saw Medicare pay $5.8 billion for ambulance services, the OIG took an even closer look at this category of claims. More >

CMS Sends a Lifeline on Stark after Tuomey Affirmed: What Health Providers Should Know

In July, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a record verdict of $237 million against Tuomey Healthcare Systems in the case of U.S. ex rel. Drakeford v. Tuomey Healthcare System, Inc. for violations of the False Claims Act and the Stark Law. Tuomey allegedly violated these laws in over 21,000 claims, submitting bills to Medicare worth $39 million. The False Claims Act allows up to triple damages per claim, as well as a penalty of up to $11,000 per violation. Perhaps in light of such a verdict, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a set of proposed changes and clarifications to the Stark Law that should help healthcare providers to breathe a sigh of relief. More >

CMS Proposes Sweeping Changes for Nursing Home Oversight

On July 16, 2015, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a Proposed Rule with new standards that will have a sweeping effect on the long-term care industry. This new Rule is the first comprehensive review and update to Medicare and Medicaid nursing home standards since 1991. Since the last update, the number of Medicare beneficiaries, excluding Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, residing in nursing homes has tripled to 1.8 million residents and the Medicaid Program has become the primary payer of long term care (64% of residents are on Medicaid).[1] More >

Think Twice about DEA Voluntary Surrender

Posted In KASPER, Medicaid, Medicare

It can be an intimidating experience to be sure... A DEA agent or Diversion Investigator, on an unscheduled visit to your office, confronts you with a KASPER, a KBML complaint or some other state regulatory action and alleges violations of the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA Agent then asks you to sign DEA Form 104. This form, which is titled “Voluntary Surrender of Controlled Substances Privileges,” is placed in front of you while the agent explains why you should sign it immediately, rather than face potential action to revoke your DEA and other adverse consequences. The DEA Agent tells you that you are already in deep, deep trouble (of a vague and unspecified nature), and that the simple act of signing this form can make your troubles go away and prevent federal action. Also, he tells you that all you have to do to get the number back is to reapply! Hold on...this is not the full story! This scenario is becoming a harsh reality and common situation for physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and PAs. More >

The False Claims Act - the Basics Every Provider Should Know, Part Two

Posted In False Claims Act, Medicaid, Medicare, Qui Tam

On Tuesday, we discussed the history and basic elements of a violation of the False Claims Act. Today’s post will explore the penalties and enforcement of the Act. More >

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