Health Law Blog - Healthcare Legal Issues

Archive for the ‘OIG Annual Work Plan’ Category

OIG 2017 Annual Work Plan

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

OIG Annual Work Plan for 2017 – Topics Covered

The Health and Human services Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released its 2017 Annual Work Plan.  Work planning is an ongoing project within the OIG.  Every year, the OIG publishes a work plan that consolidates the OIG audits and evaluations that are being conducted or planned within the organization.  The annual work plan has become a source that compliance officers look to as a tool for the identification of potential risk areas or areas of emphasis within their organization.  It is obviously not the only source for identifying compliance risk areas, but is certainly one reliable source that providers can draw on when setting their annual compliance priorities.

The 2017 OIG Work Plan can be download through the OIG site.

Ruder Ware’s health care group will continue to put out blogs and articles on various issues identified in the 2017 Annual Work Plan.  We will focus primarily on issues that were introduced for the first time in this year’s plan.

A listing of some of the issues addressed in the 2017 annual work plan include:

Hyperbolic Oxygen Therapy Services – Provider Reimbursement in Compliance with Federal Regulations

Incorrect Medical Assistance Days Claimed by Hospital

Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Outlier Payments

Case Review of Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital Patients Not Suites for Intensive Therapy

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy

Outpatient Outlier Payments for Short-Stay Claims

Comparison of Provider-Based and Freestanding Clinics

Reconciliation of Outlier Payments

Hospital Use of Outpatient Stays Under Medicare’s Two Midnight Rule

Case Review of Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital Patients Not Suited for Intensive Therapy

Medicare Costs Associated with Defective Medical Device

Payment Credits for Replaced Medical Device That Were Implanted

Medicare Payment for Overlapping Part A Inpatient Claims and Part B Outpatient Claims

Selected Inpatient and Outpatient Billing Requirements

Duplicate Graduate Medical Education Payments

Indirect Medical Education Payments

Outpatient Dental Claims

Nationwide Review of Cardiac Catheterization and Endomyocardial Biopsies

Payments for Patients Diagnosed with Kwahiorkor

Use if Hospital Wage Data Used to Calculate Medicare Payments

CMS Validation of Hospital-Submitted Quality Reporting Data

Long Term Care Hospitals – Adverse Events in Post-acute-Care for Medicare Beneficiaries

Hospital Preparedness and Response to Emerging Infectious Diseases

Nursing Home Complaint Investigation Data Brief

Skilled Nursing Facilities – Unreported Incidents of Potential Abuse and Neglect

Skilled Nursing Facility Reimbursement

Skilled Nursing Facility Adverse Even Screening Tool

National Background Checks for Long Term Care Employees – Mandatory Review

Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System Requirements

Potentially Avoidable Hospitalizations of Medicare and Medicaid Eligible Nursing Facility Residents

Medicare Hospice Vulnerabilities and Recommendations for Improvement

Review of Hospices Compliance with Medicare Requirements

Hospice Home Care – Frequency of Nurse On-Site Visits to Assess Quality of Care and Services

Comparing HHS Survey Documents to Medicare Claims Data

Home Health Compliance with Medicare Requirements

Part B Services During Non Part-A Nursing Home Stays; Durable Medical Equipment

Medicare Market Share of Mail-Order Diabetics Testing Strips

Positive Airway Pressure Device Supplier – Supplier Compliance Documentation Requirements for Frequency and Medical Necessity

Orthotic Braces – Reasonableness of Medicare payments Compared to Amount Paid by Other Payors

Osteogenesis Simulators – Lump Sum Purchase Versus Rental

Power Mobility Devices – Lump Sum Purchase Versus Rental

Competitive Machines and Related Drugs – Supplier Compliance with Payment Requirements

Access to Durable Medical Equipment in Competitive Bidding Areas

Orthotic Braces – Supplier Compliance with Payment Requirements

Nebulizer Machines and Related Drugs – Supplier Compliance with Payment Requirements

Access to Durable Medical Equipment in Competitive Bidding Areas

Monitoring Medicare Payments for Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Tests – Mandatory Review

Medicare Payments for Transitional Care Management

Medicare Payments for Chronic Care Management

Data Brief on Financial Interests Reported Under the Open Payments Program

OIG Self Disclosure Protocol Revisions Explained

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

OIG Self Disclosure Protocol – OIG Explains at HCCA Conference

self disclosure protocols 2013 update oigAn OIG representative spoke about the new revised self disclosure protocols at a recent HCCA seminar that I attended.  The OIG felt it was appropriate to be more transparent regarding the process for self disclosure.  A few points were highlighted in this session:

  1. The OIG held its own feet to the fire by acknowledging the 1.5 damage multiplier when the self disclosure protocol is used.  They will need to justify if they are going to ask for more.
  2. Self disclosure is not an admission of liability.  However, you will be required to make a settlement and payment if you make a self disclosure.
  3. Self disclosure is not to be used to get an interpretation of whether your activity was wrongful or whether a law was violated.
  4. A decision not to self disclose leaves you open to potential whistle-blower complaints.  False Claims Act potential remains for the ten-year False Claims Act statute of limitation.
  5. Repayment can go to the fiscal intermediary if there is no wrongdoing but there is still an overpayment.
  6. Self disclosure requires disclosure of how your investigation was conducted.  If the investigation was conducted under privilege, you will need to disclose privileged information on investigation under privilege.
  7. The only party that can give you a False Claims Act release is the Department of Justice.

 

OIG Outlook 2014 Video Published On OIG Website

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

OIG Outlook 2014 – OIG Releases New Video

The Office of Inspector General has released a new video along with several supporting documents entitled “OIG Outlook 2014.”  In the video, the OIG discusses their top priorities for 2014 and upcoming projects that are included in the 2014 OIG annual work plan.  Providers with an interest in compliance issues should review the OIG video as it provides some useful insight that can be used in developing and enhancing organizational compliance programs.  The video is available at the following URL:  http://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/outlook/index.asp.

Excluded Party List Searches – How Often To Search Program Exclusion List

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Excluded Party List Searches

OIG Advisory Further Defines Provider Obligations 

Excluded party search exclusion listsIn our compliance legal practice, questions often arise about an employers’ obligations to screen employees to determine whether they have been excluded from federal health care programs.  The significance of hiring or entering a contract with a party who has been excluded from participation cannot be overstated.  Providers can be subject to civil monetary penalties for even employing or contracting with excluded parties.  Reimbursement is also denied of based on services performed or ordered by an excluded party.  The financial implications of erroneously hiring an excluded individual can be astronomical; particularly if the excluded party is permitted to work without detection for a long period of time.

In order to prevent this potential exposure, employers need to actively monitor the Office of Inspector General’s exclusion database.  Employers and contractors should operate a systematic program to screen all employees and contractors before hire.  Exclusion and other background searches should be operationalized into your hiring process and into your regularly performed compliance activities.

Even after hire, periodic searches should be performed on all employees and contractors.  Past wisdom advised checking each employee at least annually.  Current practice is to check for exclusion on a monthly basis.  More frequent screening is supported by an updated Special Advisory Opinion that was released by the OIG in May of 2013.  The OIG Special Advisory stresses the need for providers to perform frequent searches and to fully document the searches and any investigation that is necessitated by the results.

External contractors are often used by larger providers to conduct and report on periodic exclusion screenings.  Provider should be aware that contracting out screening functions does not exclude them from primary responsibility.  In other words, if something is missed, it is the provider’s “neck on the block,” not the screening company’s, at least in the eyes of the OIG.

Look for further posts on the healthlaw-blog covering excluded parties.  If you have any questions about these issues, contact health care and compliance attorney John H. Fisher, II through the contact information provided on the blog or through our law firm website.  You can also visit our compliance blog at certifiedcompliancelawyer.com for more information specific to compliance program development and operation.

Hospice – Nursing Home Relationships – Compliance Reviews

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Hospice Compliance Reviews – OIG Focus On Hospice Admissions

Hospice Admission Criteria ComplianceThe OIG has repeatedly expressed suspicion about hospice relationships with nursing homes and admission of “marginal” hospice patients who reside in nursing homes.  Hospices should routinely monitor their percentage of patients who reside in nursing homes and audit admission decisions relative to those patients.  This is an area of frequent review and hospices should assure that each nursing home/hospice patient meets admission criteria.

OIG also expressed concern over hospice marketing materials that could lead to inappropriate admissions.  Marketing materials should accurately describe the nature of hospice care and the criteria that must be met to receive hospice benefits.  Of particular importance is assuring that marketing materials clearly describe the requirement that the patient forgo any curative treatment in order to maintain eligibility for hospice benefits.

Misuse of hospice inpatient care is also prominent on the OIG’s radar.  Medical records of inpatients are vulnerable to review by the government to confirm the appropriateness of inpatient hospice benefits.  Hospices should add review of inpatient care admissions to their list of audit and review items if they have not already done so.

HCCA Compliance Institute Presentation On Compliance Role In Mergers and Acquisitions

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

John Fisher Presents at National Health Care Compliance Institute in Washington, D.C.

John Fisher, JD, CHC

John Fisher, JD, CHC, CCEP

Ruder Ware health care and compliance attorney John Fisher was a featured speaker at the Health Care Compliance Association’s 2013 Compliance Institute.  The Institute was attended by nearly 3,000 compliance officers, attorneys, and vendors from across the country.  Mr. Fisher spoke on the topic “Compliance Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions.”

Mr. Fisher is certified in Health Care Compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association and in Corporate Compliance and Ethics by the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

Mr. Fisher’s presentation covered some of the following issues:

  • The role of the compliance officer in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Compliance related due diligence requests.
  • The scope of compliance due diligence.
  • Successor liability and assumption of liabilities by purchasers.
  • Compliance impact of deal structure and agreement terms.
  • Compliance effectiveness reviews in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Common due diligence compliance risk areas.

 

For more information on compliance and health law issues, visit our health care law blog at www.healthlaw-blog.com.

OIG Approves Free Insurance Authorization Services by Radiology Group

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

OIG Advisory Opinion 12-10 – Radiology Insurance Pre Approval Service

A recent OIG advisory opinion addressed the legality, under the Medicare Anti-Kickback Statute, of a radiology group’s proposed program to provide free insurance pre-approval services when the treating physician orders a radiology service. The radiology group requested the advisory opinion out of concern that the potential value to the treating physician through reduction in administrative burden involved in gaining pre-approval could be considered to be “remuneration” that is intended to induce referrals to the radiology group.

In response to the advisory opinion request, the OIG stated that it believed the risk of fraud in the pre-authorization program to be minimal. The OIG reasoned that in the majority of cases, the treating physician is not likely to know who is responsible for obtaining pre-approval because the responsibility for obtaining pre-approval varies by insurance companies. The OIG also found it relevant that the program was made available to all patients without consideration for the source of referral or the identity of the payor. The OIG pointed to additional safeguards that were built into the proposed program.

Diagnostic or ancillary service providers who offer or wish to offer free pre-authorization services should reference the OIG Advisory Opinion No. 12-10. Although a favorable decision was reached in that opinion, the decision only protects the party who requested the opinion. Free pre-authorization services by diagnostic and ancillary providers can raise Anti-Kickback Statute concerns if a program is not structured to reduce risk.

For more information regarding this or other health law issues, contact John H. Fisher, II at Ruder Ware.

OIG Issues 2013 Annual Work Plan, Outlines Areas of Focus for Fiscal Year Ahead

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

OIG 2013 Annual Work Plan Summary 

            Medical Practice Compliance Programs  The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health of Health and Human Services (“OIG”) has published their annual work plan for the 2013 fiscal year (“2013 Work Plan”).  The Work Plan focuses on areas where OIG plans to focus significant resources during the 2013 fiscal year.  The 2013 Work Plan creates opportunities for providers to get a glimpse of what the OIG feels is important and to integrate these areas into their ongoing compliance activities.

              This update will briefly summarize some of the new issues that were added this year.  It is not a comprehensive description of all items that are on the OIG’s radar.  Providers are advised to review the entire 2013 Work Plan plus the work plans from the past several years to get a more complete picture of issues that the OIG feels are important.

Hospital-Related Issues

1.           Expansion of DRG Payment Window.  OIG states its intent is to analyze claims data to determine whether any savings could be achieved by bundling outpatient services that are delivered up to 14 days before a hospital inpatient admission.  Current Medicare policy bundles outpatient services that are delivered three days prior to inpatient admission into the “DRG window.”

2.           Provider-Based Status of Hospital on Physician Practices.  There is currently an incentive for a physician group to bill as a provider-based physician practice where there are ties to a hospital.  The OIG will be reviewing the appropriateness of physician practices who are billing as “provider-based” groups without meeting all of the necessary criteria.

3.           Medicare Transfer Policy.  The OIG will review Medicare payments made to hospitals for beneficiary discharges that should more appropriately have been coded as transfers.  Hospitals that transfer beneficiaries to another facility are not entitled to the full DRG payment that is due when a patient is properly discharged.  This creates an incentive for hospitals to code for a discharge when the patient is actually being transferred to another facility.  The OIG will be reviewing hospital billings to look for inappropriate “discharge” classifications.  Hospitals should audit their discharge and transfer practices to be certain that they are properly coding transfers where applicable.

4.           Payment for Discharges to Swing Beds and Other Hospitals.  Currently, Medicare does not reduce the DRG amount that is paid when a patient transfer is made into a “swing bed,” even when the “swing bed” is located in a separate facility.  The OIG will be reviewing this practice to determine whether any savings can come from reducing DRG payments when the swing bed transfer is made to another facility.

5.           Hospital Payments for Canceled Surgical Procedures.  The OIG will be reviewing payments that are made for canceled surgical procedures which are then followed by a second payment for a rescheduled procedure.  Current Medicare policy does not preclude payments for claims when there is an inpatient stay followed by canceled surgical procedure.  CMS will be reviewing this policy to determine whether savings can be made in this area.

6.           Payments from the Mechanical Ventilation.  CMS will be reviewing Medicare payments for mechanical ventilation.  Patients are required to receive 96 hours of mechanical ventilation in order to be eligible for payments under the DRG system.

7.           Improve An Organization Work With Hospital.  OIG will be reviewing the extent that Quality Improvement Organizations have worked with hospitals to conduct quality improvement projects and to provide technical assistance.

8.           Hospital Acquisition of Ambulatory Surgery Centers.  OIG will be reviewing hospital acquisitions of ambulatory surgery centers to determine whether these centers are being acquired as a method to increase reimbursement.  ASC services that are provided as in an outpatient department of the hospital are reimbursed at higher rates than independently owned an ambulatory surgery centers.

9.           Critical Access Hospital Payments for Swing Bed Services.  Critical access hospitals are able to designate a portion of the 25 bed allotment for use as acute care or swing bed services with CMS’s approval.  There is no limitation on the length of stay that is permitted for swing bed utilization.  The OIG will be reviewing this policy to determine whether reimbursement changes are required in this area.

Long Term Care Issues

1.           Long-Term Care Hospital Interrupted State Payments.  The OIG will be reviewing Medicare payments for interrupted stays in long-term care hospitals for the year 2011.  They will be identifying readmission patterns to determine whether the long-term care hospital’s re-admittance policies are in compliance with rules.

2.           Nursing Home Verification of State Agency Deficiency Corrections.  The OIG will be determining whether state survey agencies properly followed up and verified fulfillment of corrective action plans for deficiencies and identified during nursing home recertification surveys.  The OIG is concerned that state survey agencies may not always be verifying that identified deficiencies were properly corrected.

3.           Nursing Home Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs.  The OIG will be reviewing administration of atypical antipsychotic drugs to nursing home residents.  The OIG will describe characteristics associated with nursing homes that frequently administer atypical antipsychotic drugs.

4.           Nursing Home Minimum Data Set Submissions.  OIG will determine whether CMS and state agencies oversee the accuracy and completion of minimum data sets that are submitted for nursing facilities.

Home Health Care

1.           Home Health Agency Face-To-Face Requirements.  OIG will be reviewing Medicare eligible home health services to be certain that face-to-face encounters are taking place as required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Previous studies indicated that only 30% of beneficiaries had at least one face-to-face visit with the physician who ordered the home health.

2.           Criminal Background Checks By Home Health Agencies.  The OIG will be reviewing home health agencies to determine whether they are complying with state requirements that require criminal background checks to be conducted on home health applicants and employees.  Federal law requires compliance with state and local laws regarding criminal background checks.  In previous OIG reviews, 92% of nursing homes employed at least one individual with criminal convictions.

Medical Equipment Suppliers

1.           Accreditation of Medical Equipment Suppliers.  OIG will be reviewing CMS procedures for conducting validation surveys of medical equipment suppliers.  CMS is required to conduct validation surveys regarding beneficiary safety and quality of care that may place Medicare beneficiaries at risk.

2.           Payments for Power Mobility Devices.  A series of reviews will be conducted relative to power mobility devices.  Reviews will focus on whether Medicare payments made to suppliers were made in accordance with federal regulations and were “reasonable and necessary.”  OIG will also be reviewing payment methods to determine whether savings can be achieved by eliminating the option of a lump sum purchase and requiring leasing of some power mobility devices.

3.           Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Supplies.  CMS will be reviewing whether scheduling of replacement supplies is appropriate and whether changing the scheduling could avoid possible wasteful spending.  There is currently no national requirement for CPAP replacement schedules.

4.           Diabetes Testing Supplies.  There are a number of new areas identified for examination relating to diabetes testing supplies.  Providers involved in these areas should carefully review the new items that relate to diabetes management and testing.

Program Integrity

1.           Onsite Visits for Medical Providers in Supplier Enrollment and Reenrollment.  CMS has the right as it deems necessary to perform onsite inspections of providers who are enrolling in the Medicare program.  CMS is authorized to expand the role of unannounced pre-enrollment visits.  Reviews found that some 33% of medical equipment suppliers in South Florida do not maintain physical facilities.  OIG will be examining these requirements to determine whether additional site visits are appropriate.

2.           Improper Use of Commercial Mailboxes.  Medicare providers are required to establish a physical business location with a permanent visible sign and a specific street addresses.  Mailboxes alone or not permitted.  Recent evidence suggests that individuals attempting to defraud Medicare may be using commercial mailbox addresses for this purpose.  OIG will be reviewing providers and suppliers to determine whether their listed addresses match commercial mailbox addresses.

3.           Provider Subject To Debt Collection.  CMS will be determining whether payment should be rechanneled relative to providers who have been reported to the Department of Treasury for collection of overpayment refunds.

Physician Billing

1.           Payment for Personally Performed Anesthesia Services.  OIG will be reviewing anesthesia claims to determine whether they are supported in accordance with Medicare requirements.  In order for a provider to be reimbursed as a personally performed anesthesia service, proper information must be included on the claim and in the medical chart to verify the claim.  Service modifier “AA” is used in connection with anesthesia services that are personally perform.  QK modifiers are used for medical direction of two, three, four concurrent anesthesia services.  Providers using “AA” modifiers must be able to support the requirement for receiving 100% of the personally performed services.

2.           Questionable Ophthalmological Service Billings for 2011.  OIG will be reviewing claims data to identify questionable billings for ophthalmologic services during 2011.  They will review geographic locations and provider patterns where questionable billings are located.  The types of billing that will be examined were not identified.

3.           Electrodiagnostic Testing.  OIG will be reviewing questionable billing for electrodiagnostic testing and will be attempting to identify Medicare utilization rates and get different rates by provider specialty, diagnosis, and geographic areas.  OIG identifies electrodiagnostic testing as an area of potential inappropriate financial gain posing significant vulnerabilities to the Medicare program.

Miscellaneous

1.           Location Requirements for Rural Health Clinics.  Rural health clinics are required to meet basic location requirements.  CMS has not promulgated final regulations allowing removal of rural health clinics that did not meet location requirements.  OIG will be reviewing this procedure.

2.           Claims Processing Areas “G” Modifiers.  The OIG will determine the extent to which Medicare improperly paid claims from 2002 to 2011 where certain “G” modifiers were used.  “G” modifiers are used to indicate that Medicare denial is expected by the provider.  It has been identified that some payments were made to providers in spite of the use of these modifier codes.

3.           Analysis of Drug Shortage in Patient Safety Concerns.  The OIG will be examining the recent trend of drug shortages to determine whether there has been an effect on pricing of pharmaceuticals.  Suspicion of industry price manipulation appears to be the motivation behind this system.

Summary

              This is a brief summary of some of the areas that were described in the recent 2013 Work Plan.  For a more comprehensive discussion of these items, visit the website for the Office of Inspector General and download the complete fiscal year 2013 annual work plan.  It is highly advisable for compliance officers to examine the document in its entirety to determine what impact, if any, it will have on their compliance efforts for fiscal year 2013.  It is also good practice to review annual work plans for several previous years as part of the risk identification process.

              If there are any questions regarding these requirements or how they impact compliance programs and detailed requirements that are generally described in this document, please do not hesitate to contact John H. Fisher, II, Esq., CCEP, CHC.

OIG 2013 Work Plan Nursing Home Hospice Home Health Provisions

Friday, October 5th, 2012

 

OIG Work Plan 2013 – Provisions Affecting Nursing Homes, Home Health and Hospices

 Nursing Homes—State Agency Verification of Deficiency Corrections (New)

Nursing Homes—Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs (New)

Nursing Homes—Oversight of the Minimum Data Set Submitted by Long-Term-Care Facilities (New)

Nursing Homes— Adverse Events in Post-Acute Care for Medicare Beneficiaries

Nursing Homes—Medicare Requirements for Quality of Care in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing Homes—Oversight of Poorly Performing Facilities

Nursing Homes—Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents

Nursing Homes—Questionable Billing Patterns for Part B Services During Nursing Home Stays

 

Hospices

Hospices—Marketing Practices and Financial Relationships with Nursing Facilities

Hospices—General Inpatient Care

 Home Health Services

  HHAs—Home Health Face-to-Face Requirement (New)

 HHAs—Employment of Home Health Aides With Criminal Convictions (New)

 HHAs—States’ Survey and Certification: Timeliness, Outcomes, Followup, and Medicare Oversight

 HHAs—Missing or Incorrect Patient Outcome and Assessment Data

 HHAs—Medicare Administrative Contractors’ Oversight of Claims

 HHAs—Home Health Prospective Payment System Requirements

 HHAs—Trends in Revenues and Expenses

John H. Fisher

Health Care Counsel
Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
500 First Street, Suite 8000
P.O. Box 8050
Wausau, WI 54402-8050

Tel 715.845.4336
Fax 715.845.2718

Ruder Ware is a member of Meritas Law Firms Worldwide

Search
Disclaimer
The Health Care Law Blog is made available by Ruder Ware for educational purposes and to provide a general understanding of some of the legal issues relating to the health care industry. This site does not provide specific legal advice and you should not use the information contained on this site to address your specific situation without consulting with legal counsel that is well versed in health care law and regulation. By using the Health Care Law Blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Ruder Ware or any individual attorney. Postings on this site do not represent the views of our clients. This site links to other information resources on the Internet; these sites are not endorsed or supported by Ruder Ware, and Ruder Ware does not vouch for the accuracy or reliability of any information provided therein. For further information regarding the articles on this blog, contact Ruder Ware through our primary website.