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CLIENT ALERT: Low Volume Appeals Settlement for RAC Appeals

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a new settlement proposal to providers with outstanding appeals at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (“OMHA”) and the Medicare Appeals Council (“MAC”). Essentially, CMS is offering to pay up to 62% of the claim to the provider for qualifying claims that are currently in the appeal process. Interested providers may submit an Expression of Interest (“EOI”) to CMS by June 8, 2018. Providers should explore this settlement opportunity and submit an EOI to receive an offer of settlement. Providers may decline the offer after the EOI is submitted. Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC’s Provider Relations, Audit, and Appeals Unit, a division of its Healthcare Department, is able to assist providers with filing the EOI, analyzing the outstanding claims subject to the settlement, and reviewing the Administrative Agreement that is offered by CMS.

Overview:

The Low Volume Appeals Initiative (“LVA”) is a program conducted by CMS that allows CMS to settle outstanding reimbursement appeals with appellants, such as United Medical and Wulf Clinic, who meet certain requirements. The settlement is for a fixed percentage of payment of 62% of the amount of reimbursement money the appellant is disputing. Participation in the LVA program is completely voluntary, and appellants will not be compelled to proceed to settlement after submitting an EOI. If the appellant ultimately decides to settle, the appellant and CMS enter into a settlement agreement whereby the appellant agrees to accept 62% of the amount being disputed, to be paid within 180 days, in exchange for a release of all claims it may have against CMS for unpaid reimbursement.

Requirements for Eligibility:

Medicare Part A and Part B providers, physicians, and suppliers who are not in bankruptcy or have False Claims Act allegations pending or completed may be eligible for the LVA program. The appellant must have less than 500 appeals pending at OMHA and MAC, combined. The appellant will be eligible for all appeals under Medicare Part A or Part B that are pending before the OMHA or MAC as of November 3, 2017, that are for a billed amount of $9,000 or less per appeal.

LVA Process:

Interested appellants must first fill out an EOI form and submit it to MedicareAppealsSettlement @cms.hhs.gov. The window in which to submit EOIs is from April 12, 2018 until June 8, 2018. If the appellant is approved to participate in the LVA program, CMS will send a spreadsheet to the appellant with a list of eligible appeals along with an Administrative Agreement. The appellant will then analyze the spreadsheet and resolve any discrepancies with CMS over the following 30 days. If all discrepancies are resolved, CMS and the appellant will enter into the Administrative Agreement and resolve all claims up to 62% of their disputed value. At any point up until signing of the Administrative Agreement, the appellant may withdraw from the program and continue with the normal appeals process.

Should you have any questions concerning the Low Volume Appeals Initiative, please contact Amanda L. Waesch, Esq. (alwaesch@bmdllc.com) or Bryan E. Meek, Esq. (bmeek@bmdllc.com), who are attorneys in Brennan, Manna & Diamond’s Provider Relations, Audits, and Appeals Unit, a division of BMD’s Healthcare Department.

 

DOL Proposes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status - But How Will the Election Affect Its Future?

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rule regarding employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The full text of the proposed rule is available here. The rule's drafters intend to reduce uncertainty and enhance the precision and predictability of the long-standing "economic reality" test, which currently relies on a multifactor balancing test.

Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020 in place, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.

FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.