Healthcare reform, Regulations

CMS issues proposed rule to increase rewards for reporting of fraud and abuse

On Wednesday, CMS issued a proposed rule that would increase incentives for people to report information that leads to a recovery of funds from individuals and entities that have or are engaged in Medicare fraud and abuse. This proposed rule would also improve CMS’ ability to detect new fraud schemes, and help ensure that fraudulent entities and individuals do not enroll in or stay enrolled in Medicare.

CMS has released a fact sheet that summarizes their proposed changes to the Medicare Incentive Reward Program as well as new provider enrollment provisions outlined in the proposed rule.

Some of the proposed changes to the Medicare Incentive Reward Program include:

  • Increasing the potential reward amount for information that leads to a recovery of Medicare funds from 10% to 15% of the final amount collected. The current program caps the reward at $1,000, meaning CMS pays a reward on the first $10,000 it collects as a result of a tip.
  • Increasing the portion of the recovery on which CMS will pay a reward up to the first $66 million recovered – this means an individual could receive a reward of $9.9 million if CMS recovers $66 million or more.

Some of the proposed changes to the provider enrollment provisions would include:

  • Adding the ability to deny the enrollment of providers, suppliers and owners affiliated with an entity that has unpaid Medicare debt. This proposal would prevent individuals and entities from being able to incur substantial debt to Medicare, leave the Medicare program and then re-enroll as a new business to avoid repayment of the outstanding Medicare debt. We are proposing that CMS would only enroll individuals or entities if they repay the debt or enter into a repayment plan, if they are otherwise eligible for the program.
  • Denying enrollment or revoking the billing privileges of a provider or supplier if a managing employee has been convicted of certain felony offenses. This provision ensures that CMS can block or remove bad actors from the Medicare program to protect beneficiaries and safeguard the Medicare Trust Fund.
  • Permitting CMS to revoke billing privileges of providers and suppliers that have a pattern or practice of billing for services that do not meet Medicare requirements. This proposal is intended to address providers and suppliers that regularly submit inaccurate claims in such a way that it poses a risk to the Medicare program.
  • Making the effective date of billing privileges consistent across certain provider and supplier types. Most practitioners and practitioner groups may only submit bills as of the filing date of their enrollment application. CMS is proposing to eliminate ambulance suppliers’ current ability to bill for up to a year prior to enrollment in the Medicare program. CMS is also proposing to require that ambulance providers and other provider and supplier types submit any claims within 60 days of revocation of billing privileges, consistent with the requirements for practitioners and practitioner groups.

Check out the proposed rule here.