Medicare, Medicaid & Private Payor Updates

Enforcement Efforts Targeting Aquatic Therapy Providers and CPT Code 97113 Claims

(October 3, 2022): Aquatic therapy is a common method of rehabilitation and maintenance for several types of injuries and conditions, and the practice is widely accepted by Medicare, Medicaid and many private payors. Historically, both payors and law enforcement have routinely audited aquatic therapy claims. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initially suspended …

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Incident To Billing Practices are Under Law Enforcement’s Microscope. Are Your Incident To Billing Practices Compliant?

(September 20, 2022): In the Medicare billing context, the term “Incident To” refers to the fact that under certain circumstances, the services of non-physician, mid-level practitioners (such as Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs)) are “. . . furnished as an integral, although incidental, part of the physician’s personal professional services in the course …

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Amniotic Fluid / Amniotic Membrane Tissue Audits, Investigations and Prosecutions are Continuing to Climb in 2022

(August 4, 2022): Over the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the number of Medicare administrative audits, False Claims Act investigations and criminal prosecutions by the Department of Justice (DOJ), related to the billing of allogeneic (harvested from someone else) stem cell products. Medicare and Medicaid claims stemming from amniotic liquid and …

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Balloon Sinuplasty Fraud / Balloon Dilation Fraud Prosecutions are Increasing Around the Country

(May 25, 2022): In recent years, federal regulators have initiated a significant number of audits and investigations examining the improper billing of claims for balloon sinuplasty / balloon dilation procedures by Otolaryngologists (commonly referred to as Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physicians. Depending on the specific facts in each case, the improper billing of balloon …

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Will Xiulu Ruan v. United States Finally Bring Some Sanity to Interpretations of the Controlled Substances Act?

(May 2, 2022): The Supreme Court last addressed violations of 21 U.S.C. §841 by a medical practitioner in 1975.[1] Since that time, several circuit courts have taken different approaches when construing the scienter requirements to prove a Controlled Substance Act violation, and how a jury may be instructed when deciding a case.  Hopefully, clarification of …

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The Criminalization of Pain – In 2022, DOJ is Aggressively Investigating and Prosecuting MDs, NPs and PAs for Violations of the Controlled Substances Act

(April 19, 2022): Despite our government’s best efforts, opioid overdose deaths in America are continuing to spiral out of control. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the period April 2020 through April 2021, the number of overdose deaths were more than 30% higher than the previous year. While many …

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The OIG Exclusion List of Individuals and Entities is Growing. What Steps are You Taking to Avoid Hiring or Contracting with an Excluded Individual or Entity?

(March 17, 2022): Over the last few months (from mid-November 2021 through mid-March 2022), the number of excluded individuals and entities on the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s (OIG’s) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) has grown by approximately 15%. According to our friends at Exclusion Screening,[1] this rapid expansion of …

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What is a Referral Under the Anti-Kickback Statute?

(January 26,  2021): Under the Anti-Kickback Statute (Anti-Kickback Statute), what constitutes a referral? Notably, neither the term referral nor the term referring (as it is referred to in the law) are defined in the statute. While you may be tempted to argue that a referral only occurs when one party refers a beneficiary to another party …

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Prepayment Reviews and Audits of Medicare Claims are Ongoing. Are Your Claims Being Audited?

(January 19, 2021):  As you will recall, on March 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) suspended most Medicare audits and reviews due to the COVID-19 national emergency.  In early August, CMS instructed its contractors to resume their prepayment and postpayment audit activities. Over the last six months, we have seen a …

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Chiropractor Owned Multidisciplinary Practices are at a Higher Risk of Audit

(January 13, 2021):  Over the last few years, we have noted a significant increase in the number of audits initiated against Chiropractor owned multidisciplinary practices.  Typically, these integrated medical practices and clinics employ at least one Chiropractor (typically in an ownership or managerial capacity), along with multiple Doctors of Medicine (MDs), Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs). …

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