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June 2022 PAR Pro Tips: A Month of Celebrations

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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

MMP’s Protection Assessment Report (P.A.R.) combines current Medicare Fee-for-Service review targets (i.e., MAC, RAC, OIG) with hospital specific paid claims data made possible through a collaboration with RealTime Medicare Data (RTMD). In general, this monthly article spotlights current review activities. However, this month in keeping with the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July celebration, MMP would like to recognize the OIG’s Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program’s 25th year of operation and celebrate Medicare’s 57th birthday!

Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Celebrates its 25th Year of Operation

On July 5, 2022, The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released the Department of Health and Human Services and The Department of Justice’s Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) Program Report for Fiscal Year 2021 (link). The OIG’s notice of this report’s release indicated the HCFAC “Program is celebrating its 25th year of operation and continued success in identifying and prosecuting the most egregious instances of health care fraud, preventing future fraud and abuse, and protecting program beneficiaries.”

HCFAC Report OIG and CMS Highlights
  • In its 25th year of operation, the Secretary and the Attorney General certified $321.6 million in mandatory funding necessary for the Program. In addition, Congress appropriate $807.0 million in discretionary fundings.
    • The OIG was allocated just over $300 million, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was allocated almost $600 million.
  • During FY 2021, the Federal Government won or negotiated more than $5.0 billion in healthcare fraud judgments and settlements.
  • The HCFAC Program’s return on investment (ROI) over the last three years (2019-2021) is $4.00 returned for every $1.00 expended. Note, “this ROI relies on actual recoveries and collections, and does not represent the effect of preventing future fraudulent payments.”
OIG Efforts
  • The OIG is the leading oversight agency specializing in health care fraud and “employs a multi-disciplinary approach and uses data-driven decision-making to produce outcome-focused results.”
  • The OIG’s priority outcome areas fall into two broad categories:
    • Minimize risk to beneficiaries, and
    • Safeguard programs from improper payments and fraud.
  • In FY 2021, the OIG issued 162 audit reports and 46 evaluations, resulting in 506 new recommendations issued to HHS operating divisions, HHS grantees and other entities. Out of 506 recommendations made in FY 2021, 432 were implemented in FY 2021.
CMS Efforts
  • “CMS defines program integrity very simply, “pay it right.” Program integrity focuses on paying the right amount, to legitimate providers and suppliers, for covered, reasonable and necessary services provided to eligible beneficiaries, while concurrently taking aggressive actions to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse. Federal health programs are quickly evolving; therefore, CMS’s program integrity strategy must keep pace to address emerging challenges.”
  • Unified Program Integrity Contractors (UPICs) medical reviews “are uniquely focused on fraud detection and investigation. Currently, UPICs are carrying out program integrity activities in all five geographic jurisdictions: Midwest, Northeast, West, Southeast, and Southwest.
  • CMS used the Medical Review Accuracy Contractor (MRAC) to conduct medical review of claim determinations made by Medicare Medical Review Contractors including MACs, UPICs, the Supplemental Medicare Review Contractor (SMRC) and in 2021 the RACs while procurement for the RAC Validation Contractor (RVC) was underway.

Happy 57th Birthday Medicare!

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the bill that led to the Medicare and Medicaid. President and First Lady Truman were the first Medicare Beneficiaries.

Did You Know?

In the CMS 2021 Edition of Medicare Beneficiaries at a Glance (link), in 2019:

  • 61.5 million people were enrolled in Medicare,
  • 3.8 million of these people were new enrollees,
  • 49% of enrollees were between the ages of 65 and 74,
  • 63% of enrollees were enrolled in the traditional Medicare Fee-for-Service plan, and
  • The top five chronic conditions were high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

In honor of Medicare’s birthday and in keeping with our monthly focus on Medicare Contractors, following is a list of useful resources provided by the CMS for our readers:

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.