Beware the Ides of March! And Medicare Provider Audits!

Practus LLPLegal Insights

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This article was featured on Monitor Mondays Season 11, Episode 446, “Novel Legal Approaches to Defend Audits:  Listen and Learn.” It aired on Monday, March 15, 2021. Click here to listen. 

Authored by Knicole Emanuel

Hello! And beware the Ides of March, which is today! I am going to write today about the state of audits today. When I say Medicare and Medicaid audits, I mean, RACs, MACs, ZPICs, UPICs, CERTs, TPEs, and OIG investigations from credible allegations of fraud. Without question, the new Biden administration will be concentrating even more on fraud, waste, and abuse germane to Medicare and Medicaid. This means that auditing companies, like Public Consulting Group (“PCG”) and National Government Services (“NGS”) will be busy trying to line their pockets with Medicare dollars. As for the Ides, it is especially troubling in March, especially if you are Julius Caesar. “Et tu, Brute?”

One of the government’s most powerful tool is the federal government’s zealous use of 42 CFR 455.23, which states that “The State Medicaid agency must suspend all Medicaid payments to a provider after the agency determines there is a credible allegation of fraud for which an investigation is pending under the Medicaid program against an individual or entity unless the agency has good cause to not suspend payments or to suspend payment only in part.” (emphasis added). That word – “must” – was revised from “may” in 2011, part of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

A “credible allegation” is defined as an indicia of reliability, which is a low bar. Very low. 

Remember back in 2013 when Ed Roche and I were reporting on the New Mexico behavioral health care cluster? To remind you, the State of NM accused 15 BH health care providers, which constituted 87.5% of the BH providers in NM, of credible allegations of fraud after the assistant AG, at the time, Larry Heyeck, had just published a legal article re “Credible Allegations of Fraud.” See blog. Unsurprisingly, the suicide rate and substance abuse skyrocketed. There was even a documentary “The Shake-Up” about the catastrophic events in NM set off by the findings of PCG.

About Knicole C. Emanuel, Esq.

Practus Healthcare Law Partner Knicole EmanuelHealthcare law expert, Knicole Emanuel, is a panelist on the healthcare podcast, Monitor Mondays, by RACmonitor. For over 20 years, Knicole has maintained a healthcare litigation practice, concentrating on Medicare and Medicaid litigation, healthcare regulatory compliance, administrative law and regulatory law.

She has successfully obtained federal injunctions in numerous states, enabling providers to remain in business despite the state or federal laws allegations of health care fraud, abhorrent billings, and data mining. A wealth of knowledge in her industry, Knicole frequently lectures across the country on healthcare law. This includes the impact of the Affordable Care Act and regulatory compliance for providers, including physicians, home health and hospice, dentists, chiropractors, hospitals and durable medical equipment providers.

 

Practus, LLP provides this information as a service to clients and others for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers.