Another Win for the Good Guys! Gordon & Rees Succeeds in Overturning Yet Another Medicaid Contract Termination!
Getting placed on prepayment review is normally a death sentence for most health care providers. However, our health care team here at Gordon Rees has been successful at overturning the consequences of prepayment review. Special Counsel, Robert Shaw, and team recently won another case for a health care provider, we will call her Provider A. She had been placed on prepayment review for 17 months, informed that her accuracy ratings were all in the single digits, and had her Medicaid contract terminated.
We got her termination overturned!! Provider A is still in business!
(The first thing we did was request the judge to immediately remove her off prepayment review; thereby releasing some funds to her during litigation. The state is only allowed to maintain a provider on prepayment review for 12 months).
Prepayment review is allowed per N.C. Gen. Stat. 108C-7. See my past blogs on my opinion as to prepayment review. “NC Medicaid: CCME’s Comedy of Errors of Prepayment Review” “NC Medicaid and Constitutional Due Process.”
108C-7 states, “a provider may be required to undergo prepayment claims review by the Department. Grounds for being placed on prepayment claims review shall include, but shall not be limited to, receipt by the Department of credible allegations of fraud, identification of aberrant billing practices as a result of investigations or data analysis performed by the Department or other grounds as defined by the Department in rule.”
Being placed on prepayment review results in the immediate withhold of all Medicaid reimbursements pending the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) contracted entity’s review of all submitted claims and its determination that the claims meet criteria for all rules and regulations.
In Provider A’s situation, the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) conducted her prepayment review. Throughout the prepayment process, CCME found Provider A almost wholly noncompliant. Her monthly accuracy ratings were 1.5%, 7%, and 3%. In order to get off prepayment review, a provider must demonstrate 70% accuracy ratings for 3 consecutive months. Obviously, according to CCME, Provider A was not even close.
We reviewed the same records that CCME reviewed and came to a much different conclusion. Not only did we believe that Provider A met the 70% accuracy ratings for 3 consecutive months, we opined that the records were well over 70% accurate.
Provider A is an in-home care provider agency for adults. Her aides provide personal care services (PCS). Here are a few examples of what CCME claimed were inaccurate:
1. Provider A serves two double amputees. The independent assessments state that the pateint needs help in putting on and taking off shoes. CCME found that there was no indication on the service note that the in-home aide put on or took off the patients’ shoes, so CCME found the dates of service (DOS) noncompliant. But the consumers were double amputees! They did not require shoes!
2. Provider A has a number of consumers who require 6 days of services per week based on the independent assessments. However, many of the consumers do not wish for an in-home aide to come to their homes on days on which their families are visiting. Many patients inform the aides that “if you come on Tuesday, I will not let you in the house.” Therefore, there no service note would be present for Tuesday. CCME found claims inaccurate because the assessment stated services were needed 6 days a week, but the aide only provided services on 5 days. CCME never inquired as to the reason for the discrepancy.
3. CCME found every claim noncompliant because the files did not contain the service authorizations. Provider A had service authorizations for every client and could view the service authorizations on her computer queue. But, because the service authorization was not physically in the file, CCME found noncompliance.
Oh, and here is the best part about #3…CCME was the entity that was authorizing the PCS (providing the service authorizations) and, then, subsequently, finding the claim noncompliant based on no service authorization.
Judge Craig Croom at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) found in our favor that DHHS via CCME terminated Provider A’s Medicaid contract arbitrarily, capriciously, erroneously, exceeded its authority or jurisdiction, and failed to act as accordingly to the law. He ruled that DHHS’ placement of Provider A on prepayment review was random
Because of Judge Croom’s Order, Provider A remains in business. Plus, she can retroactively bill all the unpaid claims over the course of the last year.
Great job, Robert!!! Congratulations, Provider A!!!
A few months ago I sent a public records request to the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA). I eventually received the information…today.
I wanted to know how many providers had been put on prepayment review. A provider can be placed on prepayment review pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 108C-7. I have blogged about 108C-7 before. It is a Draconian law. See my blog: “You Have Been Placed on Prepayment Review, Now What?”
108C-7 states that a provider cannot appeal being placed on prepayment review. Yet while on prepayment review, the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) determines which claims submitted by you are “clean.” For the period that you are on prepayment review, you will not be paid for claims that are not “clean.” Oh, and CCME can subjectively determine whether you should be paid and you have zero recourse for which to challenge CCME’s subjective determination. See my blog: “NC Medicaid:CCME’s Comedy of Errors of Prepayment Review.”
The only relief for providers in 108C-7 is that “In no instance shall prepayment claims review continue longer than 12 months.”
The law specifically states that you cannot be forced to endure prepayment review for over 12 months.
One of the documents that DMA sent me is a chart with every single provider that had been placed on prepayment review. The chart includes the number of months that the provider was on prepayment review. But, remember, 12 months is the max per law.
See the highlighted numbers? 16. 11. 34. 34. 7. Three of the numbers are above 12….which means, three of the 6 on the first page violate state statute.
How many prepayment reviews were unlawfully conducted? (As in, DMA/CCME kept the provider on prepayment review beyond 12 months)?
75. Seventy-five prepayment reviews violated 108C-7. 75 out of approximately 125. (I started counting each one, but my eyes kept going cross-eyed…Look how small the print is!)
Reagrdless…well over half the prepayment reviews violates 108C-7!!! That same Draconian law that DHHS holds each provider to…DHHS (via CCME) is ignoring the plain language of the statute.
One poor provider was on prepayment review 46 months!!!! Another 45! A bunch of the providers were in the 30s!
Why didn’t these providers protest at being on prepayment review for so long? I have a couple of theories: (1) They are out of business; (2) They had no lawyer and had no idea that there was a 12 month limit.
Well, readers, now you know…There is a 12 month limit to prepayment review!! But DHHS/DMA/CCME is not following it. Seriously!!