Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Programs: Announcement of the Extension of Temporary Moratoria on Enrollment of Part B…
Health & Human Services Department & Publications
Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Programs: Announcement of the Extension of Temporary Moratoria on Enrollment of Part B Non-Emergency Ground Ambulance Suppliers and Home Health Agencies in Designated Geographic Locations
SUMMARY: This document announces the extension of statewide temporary moratoria on the enrollment of new Medicare Part B non-emergency ground ambulance providers and suppliers and Medicare home health agencies, subunits, and branch locations in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as applicable, to prevent and combat fraud, waste, and abuse. This extension also applies to the enrollment of new non-emergency ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies, subunits, and branch locations in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in those states.
DATES: Applicable July 29, 2017.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Manning, (410) 786-1691.
News media representatives must contact CMS' Public Affairs Office at (202) 690-6145 or email them at [email protected].
A. CMS' Implementation of Temporary Enrollment Moratoria
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub. L. 111-148), as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-152) (collectively known as the Affordable Care Act), the Congress provided the Secretary with new tools and resources to combat fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Section 6401(a) of the Affordable Care Act added a new section 1866(j)(7) to the Social Security Act (the Act) to provide the Secretary with authority to impose a temporary moratorium on the enrollment of new Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP providers and suppliers, including categories of providers and suppliers, if the Secretary determines a moratorium is necessary to prevent or combat fraud, waste, or abuse under these programs. Section 6401(b) of the Affordable Care Act added specific moratorium language applicable to Medicaid at section 1902(kk)(4) of the Act, requiring States to comply with any moratorium imposed by the Secretary unless the State determines that the imposition of such moratorium would adversely impact Medicaid beneficiaries' access to care. Section 6401(c) of the Affordable Care Act amended section 2107(e)(1) of the Act to provide that all of the Medicaid provisions in sections 1902(a)(77) and 1902(kk) are also applicable to CHIP.
In the February 2, 2011Federal Register (76 FR 5862), CMS published a final rule with comment period titled, "Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Programs; Additional Screening Requirements, Application Fees, Temporary Enrollment Moratoria, Payment Suspensions and Compliance Plans for Providers and Suppliers," which implemented section 1866(j)(7) of the Act by establishing new regulations at 42 CFR 424.570. Under SEC 424.570(a)(2)(i) and (iv), CMS, or CMS in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) or the Department of Justice (DOJ), or both, may impose a temporary moratorium on newly enrolling Medicare providers and suppliers if CMS determines that there is a significant potential for fraud, waste, or abuse with respect to a particular provider or supplier type, or particular geographic locations, or both. At SEC 424.570(a)(1)(ii), CMS stated that it would announce any temporary moratorium in a Federal Register document that includes the rationale for the imposition of such moratorium. This document fulfills that requirement.
In accordance with section 1866(j)(7)(B) of the Act, there is no judicial review under sections 1869 and 1878 of the Act, or otherwise, of the decision to impose a temporary enrollment moratorium. A provider or supplier may use the existing appeal procedures at 42 CFR part 498 to administratively appeal a denial of billing privileges based on the imposition of a temporary moratorium; however, the scope of any such appeal is limited solely to assessing whether the temporary moratorium applies to the provider or supplier appealing the denial. Under SEC 424.570(c), CMS denies the enrollment application of a provider or supplier if the provider or supplier is subject to a moratorium. If the provider or supplier was required to pay an application fee, the application fee will be refunded if the application was denied as a result of the imposition of a temporary moratorium (see SEC 424.514(d)(2)(v)(C)).
Based on this authority and our regulations at SEC 424.570, we initially imposed moratoria to prevent enrollment of new home health agencies, subunits, and branch locations /1/ (hereafter referred to as HHAs) in Miami-Dade County, Florida and Cook County, Illinois, as well as surrounding counties, and Medicare Part B ground ambulance suppliers in Harris County, Texas and surrounding counties, in a notice issued on July 31, 2013 (78 FR 46339). /2/ We exercised this authority again in a notice published on February 4, 2014 (79 FR 6475) when we extended the existing moratoria for an additional 6 months and expanded them to include enrollment of HHAs in Broward County, Florida; Dallas County, Texas; Harris County, Texas; and Wayne County, Michigan and surrounding counties, and enrollment of ground ambulance suppliers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and surrounding counties. Then, we further extended these moratoria in documents issued on August 1, 2014 (79 FR 44702), February 2, 2015 (80 FR 5551), July 28, 2015 (80 FR 44967), and February 2, 2016 (81 FR 5444). On August 3, 2016 (81 FR 51120), we extended the current moratoria for an additional 6 months and expanded them to statewide for the enrollment of new HHAs in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas, and Part B non-emergency ambulance suppliers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Our August 3, 2016 publication also announced the lifting of temporary moratoria for all Part B emergency ambulance suppliers. /3/ On January 9, 2017, CMS again issued a document to extend the temporary moratoria for a period of 6 months (82 FR 2363).
FOOTNOTE 1 As noted in the preamble to the final rule with comment period implementing the moratorium authority (February 2, 2011, 76 FR 5870), home health agency subunits and branch locations are subject to the moratoria to the same extent as any other newly enrolling home health agency. END FOOTNOTE
FOOTNOTE 2 CMS has identified an error in the provider and beneficiary saturation data described in our July 31, 2013Federal Register notice (78 FR 46339). We have subsequently revised the methodology by which we determine provider and beneficiary saturation. Following these revisions to the methodology, we simulated application of our current 2016 methodology to the 2013 data, and determined that the 2013 decision to impose the moratorium would not have been impacted had the revised methodology been applied. Provider saturation remains one of the criteria used to determine whether to implement a moratorium. CMS has made market saturation data publicly available at https://data.cms.gov/market-saturation. END FOOTNOTE
FOOTNOTE 3 CMS also concurrently announced a demonstration under the authority provided in section 402(a)(l)(J) of the Social Security Amendments of 1967 (42 U.S.C. 1395b-l(a)(l)(J)) that allows for access to care-based exceptions to the moratoria in certain limited circumstances after a heightened review of that provider has been conducted. This exception process also applies to Medicaid and CHIP providers in each state. This announcement may be found in the Federal Register document issued on August 3, 2016 (81 FR 51116). END FOOTNOTE
B. Determination of the Need for Moratoria
In imposing these enrollment moratoria, CMS considered both qualitative and quantitative factors suggesting a high risk of fraud, waste, or abuse. CMS relied on law enforcement's longstanding experience with ongoing and emerging fraud trends and activities through civil, criminal, and administrative investigations and prosecutions. CMS' determination of a high risk of fraud, waste, or abuse in these provider and supplier types within these geographic locations was then confirmed by CMS' data analysis, which relied on factors the agency identified as strong indicators of risk. (For a more detailed explanation of this determination process and of these authorities, see the July 31, 2013 notice (78 FR 46339) or February 4, 2014 moratoria document (79 FR 6475)).
Because fraud schemes are highly migratory and transitory in nature, many of CMS' program integrity authorities and anti-fraud activities are designed to allow the agency to adapt to emerging fraud in different locations. The laws and regulations governing CMS' moratoria authority give us flexibility to use any and all relevant criteria for future moratoria, and CMS may rely on additional or different criteria as the basis for future moratoria.
1. Application to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The February 2, 2011, final rule also implemented section 1902(kk)(4) of the Act, establishing new Medicaid regulations at SEC 455.470. Under SEC 455.470(a)(1) through (3), the Secretary may impose a temporary moratorium, in accordance with SEC 424.570, on the enrollment of new providers or provider types after consulting with any affected State Medicaid agencies. The State Medicaid agency must impose a temporary moratorium on the enrollment of new providers or provider types identified by the Secretary as posing an increased risk to the Medicaid program unless the State determines that the imposition of such moratorium would adversely affect Medicaid beneficiaries' access to medical assistance and so notifies the Secretary. The final rule also implemented section 2107(e)(1)(D) of the Act by providing, at SEC 457.990 of the regulations, that all of the provisions that apply to Medicaid under sections 1902(a)(77) and 1902(kk) of the Act, as well as the implementing regulations, also apply to CHIP.
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