Kusserow on Compliance: Meeting sanction checking mandates

As the HHS Inspector General, I created what is now referred to as the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) that was followed by OIG compliance guidance documents which call for checking employees, physicians, vendors, and contractors against the LEIE. The OIG considers all claims and costs associated with an excluded party as potentially false and fraudulent and can lead to significant financial penalties and more. The OIG Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion provides very useful information in assessing this risk area. CMS mandates, as a condition of enrollment, providers may not employ or contract with individuals or entities that are excluded from participation in any federal health care program and call for checking not only against the LEIE, but also the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Excluded Parties List System (EPLS), now part of the System for Award Management (SAM). CMS further called upon State Medicaid Directors to establish their own sanction data base and requires providers to check it on a monthly basis. To date, 40 states have moved to establish their own Medicaid sanction lists with other states in the process of doing the same. This has increased the sanction screening burden exponentially, not only for the compliance office but other departments as well. HR often has responsibility of sanction checking new hires and periodically current employees. Procurement is also affected because they handle the screening of vendors and contractors. The Medical Credentialing Office must ensure checking on physicians who have been granted staff privileges.  Other federal sanction databases worth screening are maintained by the DEA and FDA, as well as the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Terrorist Watch List.

Daniel Peake, of the Compliance Resource Center (CRC), works with clients to provide a variety of CRC services that includes providing sanction checking services, as well as the investigation and resolution of potential hits. He noted that the time and resources necessary for developing and maintaining a search engine, along with regularly collecting and updating sanction information from many databases is not very cost effective. This high cost of using internal resources to develop and manage the sanction checking has resulted in the great majority of health care entities subscribing to a vendor service that provides a search engine to their established databases. Vendors can afford the high cost of maintaining the currency of the data because they amortize the costs over many clients. The problem is that that vendor quality, cost, and reliability can vary enormously.  From experience, he offered the following tips for those considering a vendor:

 

Tips on choosing a vendor search engine service

  1. Know the cost up front with a fixed rate, not based upon per click searches.
  2. Contract should permit cancelling without cause at any time, if dissatisfied.
  3. Ensure vendor has liability insurance ($ 1 to 3 million preferably).
  4. Determine other services included (e.g. policy templates, regulatory updates, etc.).
  5. Determine how much “help desk” assistance is available to resolve potential hits.

 

For more information, contact Daniel Peake at (dpeake@complianceresource.com) (703-236-9854).

Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

Connect with Richard Kusserow on Google+ or LinkedIn.

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Copyright © 2019 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.

Kusserow on Compliance: OIG Work Plan update

The OIG Work Plan sets forth various projects including OIG audits and evaluations that are underway or planned to be addressed during the fiscal year and beyond. Projects included in the Work Plan span the Department and include CMS. The OIG also plans work related to issues that cut across departmental programs, including state and local governments’ use of federal funds. At the end of December, the OIG announced two new projects led by the Office of Evaluation and Inspection beginning in 2019. They are:

  1. T-MSIS Data Assessment: Usefulness of National Data to Monitor Opioid Prescribing in Medicaid. Although all States have been submitting T-MSIS data, it does not mean the data are complete and without complete data, it cannot be used as a national dataset to help Medicaid manage critical issues such as the opioid crisis. The will OIG determine whether T-MSIS contains the data necessary to identify recipients of opioid prescriptions through Medicaid who may be at risk of opioid abuse nationally.  The OIG intends to interview states to determine the challenges they face, if any, in submitting the data necessary to identify and prevent beneficiary harm from opioid misuse.

 

  1. States’ Compliance with FFS and MCO Provider Enrollment Requirements. The OIG noted that provider enrollment is a key program integrity tool to protect Medicaid from fraudulent and abusive providers. The 21st Century Cures Act requires states to enroll all Medicaid providers, both those in Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) and managed care organizations (MCOs). This study, by the OIG, is mandated by the Cures Act and will survey state Medicaid agencies about their enrollment of FFS and managed care providers and implementation of required provider enrollment screening activities.

 

Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

Connect with Richard Kusserow on Google+ or LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Kusserow on Compliance Newsletter

Copyright © 2018 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.

Kusserow on Compliance: OIG second half 2018 semiannual report to Congress

The OIG recently released its second 2018 Semiannual Report for 2018 that highlighted its key accomplishments, areas of top concern, and a summary from reports, congressional hearings, legal and investigative activities. The OIG reported for FY Fiscal Year 2018: (a) audit recoveries of $521 million; (b) investigative recoveries of $2.91 billion; (c) 764 criminal actions against individuals or entities; (d) exclusion of 2,712 individuals and entities; and (e) civil actions against 813 individuals or entities. The OIG highlights reported included the following:

  1. In response to the Opioid Crisis, the OIG (a) released a data analysis toolkit to assist both the private and public sector in combating the crisis; (b) engaged in the largest fraud takedown of providers participating in opioid related fraud; (c) reported on the effect of the opioid epidemic and opioid prescribing practices on Medicare Part D and its beneficiaries; and (d) conducted its first state specific Medicaid review targeted toward the opioid epidemic.
  2. Took several actions during this reporting period to combat health and safety issues affecting this population and made recommendations for specific grantees that failed to meet health and safety requirements.
  3. Focused on improving the quality of care in hospice settings and protecting hospice benefits from fraud, waste, and abuse that included enforcement actions against a large hospice chain; and released a portfolio of highlights and 15 recommendations for improving hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries.
  4. Identified waste by inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) that did not meet Medicare’s necessary and reasonable coverage requirements; and identified $631 million in overpayments related to replacement positive airway pressure device supplies that did not comply with Medicare requirements.
  5. Found that MCOs were identifying few cases of fraud and abuse and failed to refer the incidents to the state when they were identified.
  1. Findings that many adult day care facilities fail to meet certain requirements to ensure the health and safety of individuals in the facilities’ care; and recommended that states correct instances of patient harm and improve oversight of staffing, training, and administration in adult day care facilities.

 

Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

Connect with Richard Kusserow on Google+ or LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Kusserow on Compliance Newsletter

Copyright © 2019 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.

Kusserow on Compliance: New anti-kickback law for clinical labs

– Law creates new compliance risk areas for 2019

– Compensation of sales personnel affected

– Not limited to federal health care programs

For the new year, compliance officers should recall Congress passing into law the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (EKRA), which became effective October 24, 2018. It applies to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as many commercial health insurance plans. It has the effect of eliminating “safe harbors” used by clinical labs in marketing services. The law was intended to be part of the effort to target the national opioid crisis. It makes it a criminal offense to solicit or receive any remuneration, directly or indirectly, in return for referring a patient or patronage to a recovery home, clinical treatment facility or clinical laboratory; or to offer or pay a kickback to “induce” a referral of an individual to a recovery home, clinical treatment facility or clinical laboratory, or in exchange for an individual using the services of a recovery home, clinical treatment facility or clinical laboratory. Penalties for each violation can include a fine of up to $200,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years. The law has seven “safe harbors,” some of which are similar to the safe harbors under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute that is generally applicable to Medicare and Medicaid services, however the safe harbor for employees and independent contractors under the law expressly excludes from safe harbor protection any payment made to an employee or independent contractor that is determined or varies by:

  • the number of individuals referred;
  • the number of tests or procedures performed; or
  • the amount billed or received.

The EKRA adds an all payor (public and private) provision that enables the federal government to monitor provider arrangements intended to generate business for any laboratory services, not only those related to individuals in treatment for substance abuse disorders, payable by a federal health care program or commercial health insurer.

Richard P. Kusserow served as DHHS Inspector General for 11 years. He currently is CEO of Strategic Management Services, LLC (SM), a firm that has assisted more than 3,000 organizations and entities with compliance related matters. The SM sister company, CRC, provides a wide range of compliance tools including sanction-screening.

Connect with Richard Kusserow on Google+ or LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Kusserow on Compliance Newsletter

Copyright © 2018 Strategic Management Services, LLC. Published with permission.