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Surviving a CMS Audit PowerPoint Presentation
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Surviving a CMS Audit

Surviving a CMS Audit

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Surviving a CMS Audit

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  1. Surviving a CMS Audit One Region’s Experience

  2. Raymond L. Fowler, M.D., FACEP Professor of Emergency Medicine Co-Chair of the Section on EMS, Disaster Medicine, and Homeland Security -------------------- Chief of Operations The Dallas Metropolitan BioTel System -------------------- Attending Emergency Medicine Faculty Parkland Memorial Hospital

  3. Medicare Established in 1965 in the Johnson Administration

  4. Medicare Originally estimated to cost $26 billion in 2003 Actually cost in 2003 approximately $240 billion

  5. Medicare A “fee-for-service” system Has set standards for industry reimbursement (DRG, “Usual and Customary”) EMTALA

  6. Medicare / Medicaid Utilizes regional contracting agencies to provide payments as well as auditing compliance In Texas, it is a company called “Trailblazer”

  7. Ambulance Billing Levels

  8. Ambulance Billing Levels

  9. Ambulance Billing Levels

  10. Medicare / Medicaid Payers have the authority to conduct periodic audits They “pay first” and “audit later” Have the authority of law to require repayments and to levy fines

  11. City of Dallas Approximately late 2009 were notified of an audit to be conducted A “whistleblower” in the city government notified CMS of concerning practices by the billing company An audit ensued

  12. City of Dallas Billing company in place for fifteen years…trusted… Custom written ePCR No “internal compliance” program for the City Approximately 4 year audit period

  13. City of Dallas ~90,000 accounts filed with Medicare during this period ~60,000 accounts PAID by Medicare during this period ~30,000 accounts denied payment as “unnecessary” – all 911

  14. City of Dallas Audit 44 Total Charts were pulled 60,000 ÷ 44 = 1,363 “factor”

  15. EMS Medicare Billing BLS ALS 1 ALS 2 Standards all well-defined

  16. City of Dallas Billing company had billed everything as “ALS 1” without the City’s knowledge or approval Everything was dispatched Emergency

  17. City of Dallas Hired outside representation Audit overseen by the City Attorneys Met with the Department of Justice

  18. City of Dallas Medicare’s review of the 44 charts: 20 of them should not even have been paid!

  19. City of Dallas Medicare’s estimated repayment from the City: 20 x $320 x 1363 = >$8,500,000 PLUS TRIPLE FINES!!!

  20. City of Dallas Medicare’s estimated repayment from the City: $8,500,000 + $25,500,000 =

  21. $34,000,000

  22. I should add, at this point: They weren’t kidding And, they had the DOJ conducting the investigation

  23. City of Dallas Their audit Elderly woman from a nursing home on dialysis, temp 103, pulse 130, in shock EMS Transport Unnecessary

  24. City of Dallas Our audit All 44 transports necessary 20 should have been billed at the BLS Level

  25. City of Dallas Difference in reimbursement for BLS vs. ALS 1 from Medicare $20

  26. City of Dallas Our computed repayment: 20 x $20 x 1363 = ~$600,000 PLUS TRIPLE FINES!!!

  27. City of Dallas We offered them a check that day for ~$600,000 based upon our own audit Their reply: “Not enough commas”

  28. City of Dallas Negotiation period of about a year followed Ultimately settled for ~$2,500,000

  29. City of Dallas Billing Company had only a $1,000,000 liability policy That company was fired Every other agency in the area that used that company was also audited and paid fines

  30. We were asleep at the wheel

  31. Medicare Billing Requirements If you bill a “payer”, YOU and NOTyour billing company are the responsible party to assure billing accuracy… CMS holds YOU accountable! You can’t pass the blame!

  32. Medicare Billing Requirements You are required BY LAW to have an internal billing compliance program

  33. Medicare Billing Requirements • You must be very careful • with instructions that you • give the billing company because • they may blame mistakes on you • How do you dispatch? • Do you meet CMS standards • for each billing level?

  34. Medicare Billing Requirements Blind trust of you billing company can be very, very expensive

  35. To Do, Upon Returning Home: • Check out your billing company • What instructions have you • given them? • Check out your compliance • program carefully

  36. STEAL GOOD IDEAS FREELY! Find a example of an EMS agency with an excellent compliance program Example: MedStar in Fort Worth

  37. Summary thoughts…

  38. Remember • Compliance has many parts: • Dispatch • Response • Treatment • Documentation • Billing Accuracy • Filing, then refiling

  39. And, especially…. Perform periodic audits of your entire system to determine your accuracy… …and your risk…

  40. It may cost more up front…. …but it’s a heckuva lot cheaper than what might happen on the back end…


  42. Thank you for your kind attention…

  43. ?