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Showing posts tagged with: MACs

The Surveillance and Utilization Review Subsystem (SURS)

Susan Carmichael

Predictive Analytics or Provider Profiling? Call it what you want, is your agency being monitored by CMS and/or state Medicaid etal? And, have you directly triggered an alert? Or, are physicians that sign orders for your agency patients being investigated? Should you be aware that your agency could trigger a PPS RAC, MAC, or Z-PIC audit and that a related party or a referral source under review could trigger an audit of your agency? Yes, that could be a reality. CMS and related agencies are using predictive analytics to identify aberrant care delivery and utilization patterns for PPS. At the time the claim is dropped, an assessment of multiple patient factors is conducted. These factors may include diagnoses, frequency, and disciplines involved in care. Your agency practice patterns are now being compared to peer groups and may include a comparison to validated benchmarks. Physicians who refer to your agency may be having their practice patterns monitored also, especially if the payor source is Medicaid. The Surveillance and Utilization Review Subsystem (SURS) is responsible for monitoring claims process for Medicaid, seeking indicators of fraud.  They look for duplicate, inconsistent, or excessive visits in relation to diagnoses and visits provided in State systems. Section 456.25 of Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations writes that "States are required to have a post-payment review process that allows State personnel to develop and review: (1) recipient utilization profiles, (2) provider service profiles, (3) exception criteria; and (4) identifies exceptions so that the agency can correct misutilization practices of recipients and providers." No two state Medicaid systems are the same, thus, there are a variety of post- payment review SUR systems. Some state systems are routinely using tools that can statistically use random sampling with extrapolation for provider reviews. This allows the auditor to identify a current trend and apply the findings retrospectively for a specific past time point. Recoupment dollars can add up quickly using this methodology. The SURS are also using tools that flag inconsistencies and over-utilization of visits in relation to care delivered at those visits. At times, they may be focusing on specific discipline practices. States have different practices.  Personnel in the New Hampshire Surveillance and Utilization Review Subsystem (SURS) monitor financial claims for the NH Medicaid plan. SURS review provider claims for fraud, waste or abuse and may refer cases under suspicion to the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the State Attorney General. The unit also recovers overpayments by using predictive analysis algorithms that search its data warehouse for aberrant claim information. "In addition, SURS in New Hampshire also conducts reviews to determine if recipients are inappropriately using certain types of medications." This can trigger other areas of investigative need. Some states are querying relational databases which provide flexible and easy access to years of paid claims and the ability to query real time data along with trending patterns and profiles. The SURS also use exception profiling as a starting point for case development. Ranked reports can quickly identify outliers. A sample profile might include the following elements: -Average patients per agency -Average reimbursement per agency -Average disciplines per patient -Average diagnoses per patient -Average number of patients with labs -Average number of patients with injections -Evidence of upcoding -Evidence of downcoding Medicaid is monitoring payment for care and now closely monitoring physician practices. Agencies need to be certain that they strictly adhere to the regulations for care provision. A physician who is being monitored now can bring review and audits to those for whom he or she may provide referrals. Compliance risks have always existed. But now, agencies need to expand those risk mitigation practices to their referral sources as well as their marketing departments. Be certain you and your referral source philosophies are similar. Quality oriented physicians are also seeking agencies with like philosophies. They too want to improve the patient transition of care.  The bad press regarding 78 Texas home health agencies and the linked Texas physician has raised some physicians concerns nationally re this industry. Showcase your agency quality programs and excellent outcomes.

  • Work to improve bi-directional communication flow.
  • Establish points of accountability for sending and receiving patient information.
  • Increase the use of case management and professional care coordination.
  • Develop performance measures that encourage better transitions of care that are well documented.
  • Let it be known that your agency supports a strong regulatory culture that offers accountability and effort toward solid patient outcomes.
That well-stated philosophy and agency culture exhibited through employee conversation, patient care, and marketing materials tells all stakeholders involved that your agency strives to be a quality-oriented care delivery provider.

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CODING 2012: ICD-10-CM is Upon Us Next Year

Susan Carmichael

Agency leaders know that now more than ever, coding is driving payment and is a focus of audit by RACs, MACs, and Z-PICs. It is imperative that the primary diagnosis, primary secondary diagnosis, and sequencing of all codes clearly delineate the picture of the patient and his/her condition. The codes are the Table of Contents in the home health chapter of the book known as the patient clinical record. Agency leaders want appropriate payment and compliance. Equally important, they want to retain that payment received. At VNAA’s 30th Annual Meeting In early May, 2012 preparing for ICD-10 will be discussed in depth, but what are some of the general concepts and constructs that differ from ICD-9 CM? To prepare for this grand change, what should you do? Commit to learning about ICD-10 CM. It impacts more than just the coding department. Everyone in your agency will be impacted. CMS is preparing. While Home Health Agencies were focusing on new CY 2011 regulations and plenty of changes last year, agency leaders were aware that there was a change to Version 5010 for handling electronic claims. CMS will still accept Version 4010 claims for a short period. This billing change was necessary in preparation for ICD-10 CM scheduled for October 1, 2013. The ICD-9 CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee “Recognizing the ICD-9-CM as a dynamic statistical tool that must be flexible to meet expanding classification needs, the ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee was created as a forum for proposals to update ICD-9-CM.  A representative from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and one from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) co-chair the ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee meetings.  Responsibility for maintenance of the ICD-9-CM is divided between the two agencies, with classification of diagnoses (volumes 1 and 2) by NCHS and of procedures (volume 3) by CMS”. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/icd/icd9cm_maintenance.htm). The ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee’s role is advisory. The Director of NCHS and the Administrator of CMS make all final decisions. Final decisions are made after the December meeting and become effective October 1 of the following year. Official code revision packages, which are referred to as addenda, are available from this site. The transition to ICD-10 is a major change for the industry. To better effect that transition as well as the Version 5010 to handle electronic claims, the ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee proposed and accepted a partial freeze. This freeze identifies:

  • The last regular annual updates to ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM were made October 1, 2011
  • Limited updates to ICD-10 CM for October 1, 2013 (ICD-10-CM is expected to be fully in use in Home Health by 2013)
  • Full regular updates to ICD-10 CM to be reinstituted October 1, 2014
What is ICD-10 CM?
  • ICD-10 CM is the US “Clinical Manifestations” of the World Health Organization (WHO) ICD-10 Code Set.
  • ICD-10 PCS is a US creation for procedure codes only that will essentially be used in the acute care setting.
  • ICD-10 CM brings the US in alignment with the worldwide coding system.
  • ICD-10 CM offers greater coding specificity and accuracy.
  • IVD-10 CM offers increased capability to measure healthcare quality, safety, and efficiency.
Transaction version changes (X12 version 5010) must be in place to handle the new codes and its seven digits, thus the changes for billing this year. CMS states, ICD-10 is markedly different from ICD-9 and they expect adjustment reaction to cause slowing in payment. Many coding experts believe that, with proper planning, that need not be the case. “ICD-10 requires changes to almost all clinical and administrative systems. It requires changes to business processes.”  Per CMS Why Must We Change to ICD-10?
  • ICD-9-CM is over 30 years old.
  • ICD-9 CM has no more room to add new codes or keep pace with current classification of Medical conditions or technological advances.
  • ICD-9 CM is not always precise or unambiguous.
US mortality data is being reported in ICD-10 thus making comparison of mortality and morbidity difficult. ICD- 10 CM offers:
  • Lower Costs through increased efficiencies
  • Synergistic effects with the Electronic Health Record (EHR)
  • Clearer recognition of medical advances
  • Clearer recognition of technological advances
What are some of the Differences between ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM? ICD-9-CM 17 chapters and V and E code chapters 13,000 disease codes plus V and E codes 3,000 procedure codes in Volume 3 3-5 digits in disease codes Essentially numeric system Codes usually do not indicate timing                                                                                            encounters No differentiation between left/right ICD-10-CM 21 chapters- V and E codes in disease chapters 68,000 disease codes, including V and E codes 87,000 procedures codes in ICD-10-PCS 3-7 digits in disease codes Alphanumeric system Codes specify initial and subsequent encounters Differentiates between the right and left Solid understanding of  anatomy, physiology,  and diagnostics will be a must. In May, come to the session:  Start Preparing NOW for ICD-10 CM Coding and receive a plan for your coding teams’ educational preparation needs with examples of how to review anatomy, physiology, and diagnostic essentials.  It may seem like ICD-10 is far away but, an additional 55,000 diagnostic codes, a change in chapters, and required increased coding specificity to the 7th digit means increased risk for payment and more importantly, increased risk for payment retention. If your payment retention becomes in question, can the MACs, RACs, or Z-PICs be far behind? Could you survive what is coming with the coding preparation you have right now? This article was written by Susan J. Carmichael MS, RN, CHCQM, COS-C, FAIHCQ, Susan is the Executive Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for Select Data, a national firm providing Revenue Cycle Management services, software, and process solutions to the home health industry for over 20 years. Susan has held C Level positions for nonprofit, and publicly traded home health firms. She has taken agencies to both the American and NASDAQ Stock Exchanges, has grown multi-state Medicare-Medicaid/Private Duty/Staffing agencies by both acquisition and native growth, and is credited with growing one firm from billing $114.00 (first week) to $515,000 per week in less than five years. Susan’s latest publication was The Remington Report, July/August, 2010Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs): Seven Major Changes to the Permanent Program and in the September/October issue: The RAC Attack: How to Prepare and Manage the Audits. Susan is a frequent requested speaker at state association conferences on industry topics, including OASIS, Coding, RACs/MACs/MICS/Z-PIC audits, and Corporate Compliance program essentials. VNAA is proud to have Select Data as an Associate Member and Member Update Sponsor. Please support our sponsors like Select Data that support VNAA by visiting their Website and checking out their services.

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RACs are Gearing Up to Audit Medicare Advantage, Part D, and MEDICAID

Susan Carmichael

And yet another RAC audit… Section 1902(a)(42)(B)(i) of the Social Security Act requires states to contract with Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) to identify underpayments and to recoup overpayments as part of the state plan. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required the states to have contracted with one or more RACs by December 31, 2010.  Scheduled to begin April 1, 2011, the Medicaid RACs will be a bit different because of the different focus that could be seen by each state. There will be a large list of Medicaid auditors approved by each state. In the September, 2010 Federal Register, CMS posted an “information collection request” about Medicaid RACs. They identified that contracts should be similar to those of the Medicare program. However, states may tailor the Medicaid RAC activities to the specific aspects of the Medicaid program in each state and collectively “propose targeted areas of susceptibility regarding improper payments.” Each state was required to amend their state plans reflecting the RAC program and attesting to a plan in place. This plan must also include Medicaid waiver contracts. The RAC Medicaid requirements remain separate from the Medicaid Integrity Program (MIC) audits, which will continue. The RAC audits are additional Medicaid audits that the law requires to ensure plans under Parts C and D  have claims examined for reinsurance payments to determine if the claims costs are in excess of allowable reinsurance costs.  RACs are also to look at prescription drug plans for high cost beneficiaries. New York State Medicaid Inspector General is leading the charge in attacking waste, fraud, and abuse, recently reminding home health agencies they “cannot bill for excluded providers or accept orders from excluded providers.” He has identified that many agencies were not appropriately verifying physicians approved for Medicaid payment. In addition, the pressure is on to be certain that diagnosis codes, hospital admission and discharge codes, and procedure codes are all in order in all areas of health care. Coding, once again is at the forefront of audit review for all areas of healthcare. Health care entities should review the annual OIG workplan, and besides the understood areas of risk; diagnoses coding, rehabilitation services, medical necessity, and adequate documentation, they might wish to add Medicaid Hospice services and being certain a process is in place to verify physician orders are not taken from Medicaid excluded physicians. How frequently is the exclusion list reviewed? Risk areas identified by corporate compliance necessitate a policy and procedure to be in place with a method of verifying compliance to reduce corporate risk. Mandated corporate compliance programs are to become a reality in all areas of health care within the next few years. However, more and more organizations realize they need a corporate compliance program in place now. In case of a RAC, MAC, MIC, and especially in case of a Z-PIC or HEAT audit, establishing the view that you are compliance oriented with a compliance plan in place sends a far stronger positive message than you are waiting until a plan is actually mandated. The OIG recently announced they will be reviewing “Medicaid Program Integrity Best Practices” in state Medicaid agencies especially in the areas of coding and payment risks. You may well have Best Practices in clinical areas but do you know that your billing practices follow Best Practices in Medicaid billing? You need to have this assurance. For additional information: http://www.cms.gov/ www.cms.gov/RAC/01-Overview.asp www.RACmonitor.com www.oig.hhs.gov Reminder: RAC facts RACs can review via automated review (no medical record from the agency required) or a complex review which entails a medical record request. The four present CMS approved RACs include: RAC A: Diversified Collection Services www.dcsrac.com info@dcrac.com RAC B: CGI Federal http://racb.cgi.com racb@cgi.com RAC C: Connolly, Inc www.connollyhealthcare.com/RAC RACinfo@connollyhealthcare.com RAC D: HealthDataInsights http://racinfo.healthdatainsights.com racinfo@emailhdi.com

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