Category: SAM.gov

Risk: It’s All About Time!

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Medical Provider data with regards to Medicare and Medicaid exclusions can be tricky from a timing perspective. Even though the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) were created to attack the ever changing problem of Medicare Fraud, it can often be a trailing indicator. There are rules of inclusion that require the OIG to follow a process that often takes time. Once a name or entity is entered into the data set, it is only a matter of checking the names against the dataset either through the government website, downloading the data or using a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or similar service.

The OIG is focused on this issue and does a good job to keep the data up to date as possible and it is a large effort indeed considering the estimate of Medical licensed professions is just under 12 million according to the most recent estimates.

But what about the risk of those organizations that hires or does business with individuals or entities who have been convicted of a crime or state boards who have taken action but the license is unaffected or the OIG has not issued an exclusion? What is the time factor of when the offender or subject shows up on the LEIE list? Or are the various State Medicaid lists timelier? Not all states have Medicaid sanctions lists but the number has grown to 37 states with the recent addition of Iowa and Georgia this year.

Let’s take for example the case of CNA Kenisha Abeene. Her name showed up on the Nevada List of Sanctioned Excluded Providers in early 2014. Her name did not appear on OIG until January of the following year.

As a matter of process, TyphoonDATA pulls press releases from various Law Enforcement sites, both state and federal to gauge how fast the issues get across the spectrum of reporting entities which include Federal sources like OIG, DEA Disbarment, SAM.gov and state exclusion sites like https://dch.georgia.gov/georgia-oig-exclusions-list. Also the issues might initially surface in Licensing repositories like Department of Professional Licensing or DOPL (pronounced “Dop-Pull”) or specific board sites. Unfortunately, the states are not uniform in the approach to posting and size does matter with regards to provider type licenses. There are more Doctors and Nurses in this country so often those boards have daily updates.

For example, in the case of Physician Cyrus Sajadi, Dr. Sajadi was charged in 2012 and his name was all over the DOJ and other news sites. But, there was no action granted until 2015. Meaning his license stayed clear and without action for three years, making it possible for him to practice when he was known to have committed fraud. Leaving any organization that hadn’t known of his fraud opens them up to potential risk. For three years, his name did not pop up on the OIG or any state exclusion site. Knowing as much about your employees or potential employees as possible will cut away at your exposure to fraud or potential fines.

Moving from state to state also presents challenges. Doing a Social Security (SSN) trace often reveals multiple states the subject has lived, worked or studied. Name changes, especially in marital status, are also a driving issue. The exclusion is a post that is current at the time of posting and personal identifying information or Pii is needed to capture the action or exclusion. Often the board action is “thin file” or lacking identifiers so Sherlock Holmes will be needed to crack the case.

And last but not least this is not a one and done issue. Continuous monitoring not periodic batching is recommended. The on-going update process of data should be at a minimum monthly and some sites (Medi–CAL) have some provider types where daily updates are done.

Here are examples of delayed reporting:

INDIVIDUAL

PROVIDER TYPE

DATE OF BOARD ACTION

DATE OF APPEARANCE IN THE OIG LEIE

H, AMBER DAWN

Pharmacy Technician

10/25/2013

1/20/2015

B, BENJAMIN

CNA

12/22/2014

5/20/2015

P, THOMAS A

Pharmacy Technician

11/22/2013

1/20/2015

A, DAVID

LPN

5/15/2006

8/20/2006

A, KENISHA

CNA

3/27/2014

1/20/2015

 

Multi-State Licenses and Board Actions

I recently read an article on ProPublica (Read article here) about nurses who skip from state to state after receiving disciplinary actions. This has been and continues to be a huge weakness in the compliance industry.

When Craig Peske was fired from his nursing position in his home state in Wisconsin, and subsequently received an action against his license as well as six felony counts of narcotic possession, he used his “multi-state license” to get a job as a traveling nurse in North Carolina.

His license in North Carolina didn’t have an action against it, it was active and clear. It even surprised him when he checked on it. But, because his license was active, he had the ability to work as a nurse in North Carolina.

His license being clear in North Carolina could have been due to a lag time in getting the discipline on his record. Or because it’s possible that even with a multi-state license, the boards of separate states don’t communicate.

While I’m sure the hospital in North Carolina did their due diligence in searching his North Carolina license to confirm he was active. I believe they probably also searched for him in SAM and OIG to confirm he had no federal actions against him. What was missed, though, was that they clearly didn’t check into his Wisconsin license. The reason for this could range from Craig Peske not releasing the information that he did in fact have a license in another state. Or that their only requirement for employment is to have a free and clear license in the state of the employment.

There are many reasons why licenses for a practitioner can and will stay active when the practitioner shouldn’t be working in the healthcare industry anymore. Employing a nurse that has stolen painkillers at another facility creates a weak spot in your facility. It can open your facility up to being sanctioned or fined. It can put your patients in jeopardy as well.

And, although, most employers ask for every practitioner to disclose their actions, organizations can’t always trust employees to do so. As healthcare organizations, we need to gather as much knowledge about our practitioners as we can to protect our patients and our organization from fraud. I believe we owe this to the people out there trusting us to provide them with quality medical care.

That’s why TyphoonDATA’s product is so invaluable. With each new employee that is hired, you can search TyphoonDATA’s comprehensive database and see if there has been an action against them from a multitude of different sources. Or you can select one of our monitoring products, so with each refresh of the data, your employees are searched against the database. If a new record that matches your employee is found, you will be notified and TyphoonDATA does a verification to confirm or deny whether or not your employee is free and clear. It gives facilities and organizations just a little more comfort in knowing their employees are sanction free.

TyphoonDATA has packages that range from Basic Exclusion (searches against the OIG database) to Standard Plus (Searches against our entire database, including board actions, federal and state exclusions, and medicare opt-outs) to Premium Exclusion searches (Includes everything in Standard Plus, with a license check as well, to guarantee that their license is active and clear). All of our products are available as just a stand alone search, or with verification, or as a monitoring product.

Take a look at our products here.

SAM.gov Exclusions – What Are They, and Where do They Come From?

SAM.gov publishes an exclusion file used by many organizations for screening and/or compliance purposes. This exclusion file replaces the former EPLS files as of November, 2012. The SAM exclusion file receives regular updates and contains the collective exclusion reporting of over 80 different federal agencies totaling to approximately 130,000 exclusion records. An exclusion record from SAM.gov indicates that the individual or organization listed is disqualified from receiving any federal government contracts. S.A.M. stands for System for Award Management. This system is used for any party seeking to be awarded a federal government contract and become a federal vendor or supplier.

Let’s take a look at the break-down of the SAM.gov exclusions to see where most of the information comes from. As seen in the chart below, almost 1/2 of the SAM.gov exclusion records come from the Department of Health and Human Services’ OIG LEIE exclusion list. The top 6 contributors to the SAM.gov file makeup over 90% of its total records. The chart below only shows the top 27 federal agencies that report to SAM, there are many more which have made small record contributions.

Each agency that reports to the SAM exclusion system is responsible for the accuracy of its records and the information they contain. Exclusions records have a “type” and a “termination date”. The types are generally “Prohibition/Restriction” or “Ineligible”. In some cases the type may indicate “Proceedings Pending” or “Proceedings Completed”. These types give a little insight into the status of the investigation resulting in exclusion. The termination date in the record indicates the shelf-life of the exclusion. In some cases, a future date is present. This means that once that date is reached, the party on record is no longer excluded. In many cases, the word “Indefinite” is seen in the termination date. An indefinite exclusion never expires and can only be removed at the digression of the reporting agency. If specific conditions or criteria are met, the excluding agency may remove the exclusion. SAM does not publish a reinstatement list, non-excluded parties are simply removed from the updated file. Some reporting agencies (such as the OIG) do maintain their own reinstatement lists.

 

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TyphoonDATA offers data and compliance solutions that include the SAM.gov exclusions file and much more.

To speak with TyphoonDATA directly, please contact:

Richard Rupert, VP Compliance Solutions
Office: 800.780.5901 extension 705
rrupert@typhoondata.com