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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.

 

Investment Training for the Second and Third Generations

Consider this scenario. Mom and Dad started the business from the ground up. Over the decades it has expanded into a money-making machine. They are able to sell the business and it results in a multimillion-dollar payday for their labors. The excess money has allowed Mom and Dad to invest with various financial advising firms, several fund management groups, and directly with new startups and joint ventures. Their experience has made them savvy investors, with a detailed understanding of how much to invest, when, and where. They cannot justify formation of a full family office with dedicated investors to manage the funds, but Mom and Dad have set up a trust fund for the children to allow these investments to continue to grow over the years. Eventually, Mom and Dad pass. Their children enjoy the fruits of their labors, and, by the time the grandchildren are adults, Mom and Dad's savvy investments are gone.

Provider Relief Funds – Continued Confusion Regarding Reporting Requirements and Lost Revenues

In Fall 2020, HHS issued multiple rounds of guidance and FAQs regarding the reporting requirements for the Provider Relief Funds, the most recently published notice being November 2, 2020 and December 11, 2020. Specifically, the reporting portal for the use of the funds in 2020 was scheduled to open on January 15, 2021. Although there was much speculation as to whether this would occur. And, as of the date of this article, the portal was not opened.

Ohio S.B. 310 Loosens Practice Barrier for Advanced Practice Providers

S.B. 310, signed by Ohio Governor DeWine and effective from December 29, 2020 until May 1, 2021, provides flexibility regarding the regulatorily mandated supervision and collaboration agreements for physician assistants, certified nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse practitioners working in a hospital or other health care facility. Originally drafted as a bill to distribute federal COVID funding to local subdivisions, the healthcare related provisions were added to help relieve some of the stresses hospitals and other healthcare facilities are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HHS Issues Opinion Regarding Illegal Attempts by Drug Manufacturers to Deny 340B Discounts under Contract Pharmacy Arrangements

The federal 340B discount drug program is a safety net for many federally qualified health centers, disproportionate share hospitals, and other covered entities. This program allows these providers to obtain discount pricing on drugs which in turn allows the providers to better serve their patient populations and provide their patients with access to vital health care services. Over the years, the 340B program has undergone intense scrutiny, particularly by drug manufacturers who are required by federal law to provide the discounted pricing.

S.B. 263 Protects 340B Covered Entities from Predatory Practices in Ohio

Just before the end of calendar year 2020 and at the end of its two-year legislative session, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 263, which prohibits insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”) from imposing on 340B Covered Entities discriminatory pricing and other contract terms. This is a win for safety net providers and the people they serve, as 340B savings are crucial to their ability to provide high quality, affordable programs and services to patients.