Tag: exclusion

Excluded in One Excluded in All

Terminated-copy

Excluded in one, Excluded in all

The Affordable Care Act section 6501 discusses “Termination” of a medical provider under Medicaid if Terminated Under Medicare, CHIP, or Other State Plan.

“Termination occurs when the Medicare program, a State Medicaid program, or CHIP has taken an action to revoke a provider’s billing privileges, a provider has exhausted all applicable appeal rights or the timeline for appeal has expired, and there is no expectation on the part of a provider or supplier or the Medicare program, State Medicaid program, or CHIP that the revocation is temporary. The requirement for termination based upon a termination in another program applies in cases where providers, suppliers, or eligible professionals were terminated or had their billing privileges revoked for cause which may include reasons based on fraud, integrity, or quality.”

We find important clarifying details in an informational bulletin published in May of 2011. One point made by the director of the CPI (Center for Program Integrity) addresses the “for cause” portion of this section. The statement reads “For cause may include, but is not limited to, termination for reasons based upon fraud, integrity, or quality. For cause does not include cases where a State terminates a Medicaid or CHIP provider as a result of a failure to submit claims due to inactivity.” Additionally if a provider voluntarily ends participation in the program this is not considered “for cause” except when the “voluntary” action is taken to avoid sanction. The end of billing privileges does not necessarily result in Termination

Another important clarification from this bulletin is that if a provider is “Terminated” in one state, then all other states must also terminate, and the duration of the termination should follow the terminating State’s law. They provide the following example for clarification; “State A terminates a provider and the length of termination is 3 years. A termination action is triggered in State B with regard to that same provider as a result of the State A termination action. State B’s length of termination is 1 year. The provider is not allowed to re-enroll in State B’s Medicaid program for a 1-year period as opposed to State A’s 3-year bar to re-enrollment.” We usually refer to this as the excluded in one excluded in all scenario.

A couple of other points worth mentioning. It is clarified that there is a difference between termination and exclusion. Termination happens at the state level for the reasons stated above. “Generally, “exclusion” from participation in a federal health care program, including Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP is a penalty imposed on providers and suppliers by the Department’s Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). Individuals and entities may be excluded from participating in federal health care programs for misconduct ranging from fraud convictions to patient abuse to defaulting on health education loans.” While they are technically different situations the end result is the same, a provider’s involuntary departure from the Medicaid program or CHIP. Finally the information should be reported on at least a monthly basis to the HHS-OIG.

Want to review the bulletin? Here’s the link; https://downloads.cms.gov/cmsgov/archived-downloads/CMCSBulletins/downloads/6501-Term.pdf

How does the OIG determine who to Exclude

The OIG (Office of Inspector General) has updated their “Criteria for implementing section 1128(b)(7) exclusion authority.”

Here is a link to the OIG write up about the new standards. https://oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/files/1128b7exclusion-criteria.pdf

 

The OIG has a mission “to protect the integrity of Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) programs as well as the health and welfare of program beneficiaries.”  To fulfil this mission the OIG creates resources to help the health care industry comply with the Nation’s Fraud laws. They also work to educate the public, to protect them from fraud, and to have the public report suspicious activities. The Office of Counsel to the Inspector General (OCIG) is responsible for imposing program exclusions and civil monetary penalties (CMP) on health care providers. The excluded health care providers are included on a list known as the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE). This article will summarize the current method the OIG uses in determining the action taken against an individual or entity.  

 

Risk Spectrum

The OIG will be using a scale to determine the action taken, ranging from Exclusion to imposing Integrity Obligations to Release. There are a number of factors included in the risk assessment, which then determine the course of action the OIG will take. The categories included in this evaluation are; The Nature and Circumstance of the Conduct, Conduct During the Investigation, Significant Ameliorative Efforts, and History of Compliance.

 

Factors applied to determine the action taken

These Factors have an impact on the risk assessment, they indicate a higher risk, a lower risk, or can be neutral in determining what action will be taken by the OIG. Here is a quick summary  

  1. Nature and Circumstance of Conduct
    1. If the conduct had an adverse impact on Individuals
    2. Financial loss- the greater the amount of loss or intended loss to the Federal healthcare programs the greater the risk assessment.
    3. Conduct that occurs as part of a pattern, or over a period of time, or is continual or repeated indicates a higher risk
    4. Conduct that is currently ongoing or was continued until the Government began an investigation leads to a higher risk
    5. A lack of criminal sanctions has no impact on the level of risk
    6. Leadership Role- if the individual organized, led or planned the unlawful activity
    7. History of Prior Fraudulent Conduct, including prior judgements or convictions, refusal to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA), having a prior CIA, and failing to cooperate with OIG while under a CIA all indicate higher risk levels
  2. Conduct during Investigation
    1. Overall response to the investigation
      1. Did the individual obstruct or impede the investigation or attempt to do so?
      2. Was anything done to conceal the conduct from the government
      3. The inability for a person to engage in the conduct again for whatever reason has no effect on the risk assessment
      4. While a prompt response to the subpoena has no effect, failure to comply within a reasonable time frame would result in a higher risk assessment.
    2. Internal Investigation
      1. If an internal investigation began prior to the individual or entity learning about the Government’s investigation, and any information gained as a result is shared with the government, risk will be lower.
      2. If the person self-disclosed the conduct prior to the Government’s investigation, this would also result in a lower risk assessment.
    3. Cooperation
      1. If the person cooperates with the Government the risk assessment is lower.
      2. If through the person’s cooperation a criminal, civil, or administrative action is taken against an individual or entity, then risk assessment is lower.
    4. Resolution
      1. Adverse Licensure action increases the risk
      2. A criminal resolution including either a conviction, a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, or a Non-Prosecution Agreement. Any of these actions will increase risk which varies depending on the type of criminal action taken
  3. Significant Ameliorative Efforts
    1. Significant changes in the entity
      1. The entity taking appropriate action against the individual lowers risk.
      2. If the entity has dedicated more resources to insure compliance this will also lower the risk.
      3. If after the conduct has stopped, the entity has been sold to a non-affiliated, independent third party that has a history of compliant participation in Federal healthcare programs, the risk will be lower
      4. If there has been additional training, or a mentor assigned or other mitigating steps have been taken that will also lower the risk assessment.
  4. History of Compliance
    1. If the person has a history of appropriate timely self-disclosure made in good faith the risk will be lower
    2. Having a compliance program in place has no impact on risk level, but not having a compliance program in place that incorporates the U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual’s seven elements of an effective compliance program will increase the risk.

 

Summary

This new criteria helps clarify the process for how a health care provider can find themselves excluded by the OIG. If an individual or entity is on the LEIE, then “no payment will be made by any Federal health care program (ie; medicare or medicaid) for items or services furnished, ordered, or prescribed by the excluded individual in any capacity.” The OIG can impose penalties on entities and individuals who bill the Federal government for services while excluded by the OIG. These Civil Monetary Penalties (CMP) can be up to $10,000.00 per occurrence plus treble damages.

At Typhoon Data one of our services is to verify that providers are not on the LEIE. We offer a variety of services to help maintain compliance.

 

If you would like to discuss our solutions, feel free to contact me, David Rees at (800) 780-5901 Ext 705 or email drees@typhoondata.com.

It’s a new year…

complianceHappy New Year!!!

Once those words are uttered at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, we’re all promised improvement. We promise it to ourselves with resolutions and we’re promised it from the people around us. Most resolutions boil down to a single idea: trimming the fat.

Usually, we mean this literally. Whether we’re talking about losing a couple pounds from the holidays, or losing a couple handfuls of pounds. We all want to trim the fat from the previous year. Read More It’s a new year…

Risk: It’s All About Time!

usa-flag-map

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

 

Top 5 reasons why providers make the OIG Exclusion List

It is a common assumption that the majority of providers on the OIG List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) arrived there by defrauding the Medicare/Medicaid systems. It turns out that program related crimes are the second most common reason for exclusion. The most common reason why providers are excluded is due to license revocation or suspension. Below are the top 5 exclusion types and their descriptions:

OIG_breakdown

Drilling down on why a given provider’s license was revoked or suspended is not always easy. The reasons for these revocations and suspensions are many. Often times, the notes or minutes coming from the state licensing board do not specify a reason as the relinquishment may have been voluntary. Additional digging is often required to get the full picture.

Let’s look at an example:

Malissa Bender, was recently excluded on the OIG List. She was excluded because the Florida Board of Pharmacy granted a “Voluntary Relinquishment of License” tendered by the provider in October, 2013. Additional internet research reveals that Bender was arrested in July 2013, for stealing schedule II and III drugs from the Pharmacy where she worked. (see story)

With over 25,000 providers excluded for type 1128b4 you can see how tedious case-by-case research can become to get to the bottom of each exclusion. Fortunately, in most cases, simply knowing that the provider’s license is suspended or revoked should be enough for most employers to take action. In some cases, the reason for revocation or suspension will not be due to criminal action, or any other reason known to the employer. This fact emphasizes the need for employers to monitor an employee’s license and exclusion status.

TyphoonData offers solutions for license and exclusion monitoring.

If you would like to discuss our thoughts and solutions, give us a call at 800-780-5901.