ALJ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

News & Analysis as of

A Favorable, New Climate for Challenging Medicare Appeals

Over the past decade, health care providers seeking to challenge Medicare claim denials have faced increasing delays in reaching what many consider the most important step in the Medicare appeals process - a hearing before an...more

CMS Still Finding Its Way Through Significant Medicare Appeals Backlog – Proposes New Rule in an Effort to Catch Up

In the proposed rule, CMS focuses on taking administrative actions to alleviate the backlog, including introducing the concept of precedential decisions, delegating certain administrative law judge tasks to “attorney...more

HHS Proposes Rules to Eliminate Backlog … in 5 Years

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a series of regulatory changes in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) designed to curtail the massive backlog of Medicare claim appeals....more

HHS Proposes Rules to Streamline the Medicare Appeals Process to Address Backlog

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule intended to address the significant backlog resulting from “an unprecedented and sustained increase” in Medicare appeals. According to HHS, its...more

Medicare Appeals Backlog: HHS' Response to the Decade-Long Delay in Reviewing Appeals

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its proposed rule [PDF] revamping the Medicare appeals process at the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) level on July 5, 2016. The proposed rule extensively revises...more

OMHA Expands Settlement Conference Facilitation Program to Part A Appeals: 10 Things to Know

On Feb. 25, 2016, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) conducted a teleconference to address Phase III of the Settlement Conference Facilitation (SCF) project, which also became effective on Feb. 25, 2016. SCF,...more

Health Care E-Note - February 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has a new view in cases involving corporate wrongdoing (including fraud and abuse, qui tam, and similar matters). And its gaze is focused squarely on rooting out and punishing the...more

3 Takeaways from the Recent Ruling on Statistical Extrapolations in CMS Audits

On Jan. 20, 2016, a federal district court in the Western District of Texas affirmed a decision of the Medical Appeals Council (Appeals Council) affirming a CMS contractor’s extrapolation methodology used to assess an...more

AGG Helps Hospice Weather the Perfect Storm of Aggressive Medicare Payment Denials and Administrative Appeal Backlog

Medicare’s implementation of post-payment review through private contractors who are overly aggressive in denying payments, combined with a severe backlog of cases in queue for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge...more

Developments in Long-Term Care Q2 2015

The following summary highlights key federal court developments and administrative decisions involving skilled nursing facility survey and related issues during the second quarter of 2015....more

Four Key Takeaways on the Expansion of the Medicare Appeals Settlement Conference Project

On October 15, 2015, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (“OMHA”) conducted a teleconference to address Phase II of the Settlement Conference Facilitation (“SCF”) Pilot, effective October 1, 2015. SCF, launched in...more

Only One Short Bite of the Apple: Change in the Medicare Enrollment Appeals Process

In keeping with the trend to strengthen its authority to deny an enrollment or revoke Medicare billing privileges, CMS has modified the appeals process in a manner that will significantly shorten the time allotted to mount an...more

CMS Limits the Scope of Review for Certain Redeterminations and Reconsiderations

For providers who have received inconsistent or varying reasons for denial while navigating through the Medicare appeals process, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided much-needed relief in the form...more

Senate Committee Passes Bill Addressing Medicare Appeals Inefficiencies

On June 3, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee passed an original bill that aims to streamline and improve the Medicare Audit and Appeals Process. The Medicare appeals process has recently faced scrutiny from industry leaders...more

CMS Instructs MACs to Participate in ALJ Hearings

CMS officially added a new Section 3.9 to the Medicare Program Integrity Manual, effective October 27, 2014. These provisions instruct Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to assign a physician to participate at...more

CMS Provides for Greater MAC Involvement in ALJ Hearings

CMS recently issued Transmittal 543, Change Request 8501 in which it instructs Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to, among other things, defend their medical review decisions through the Administrative Law Judge...more

OMHA Announces Two New Programs to Address Appeals Backlog

The Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), which oversees the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) level of appeal, recently posted two important announcements regarding a new Statistical Sampling Initiative (SSI) and...more

CMS Revises Part B Billing Policy for Unnecessary Inpatient Admissions

For many years, CMS policy has been that, if an inpatient admission was denied for medical necessity reasons, the hospital could bill under Part B for only a limited set of services that, significantly, did not include...more

Annual Report Shows Meteoric Rise in RAC Activity

On February 5, 2013, CMS issued its mandatory Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC or Recovery Auditor) program annual report, detailing overpayments, underpayments, RAC performance and savings to the Medicare program. According to...more

No Judicial Review of Contractor’s Finding of a High Payment Error Rate, a Condition for Extrapolation

Before a Medicare contractor can use extrapolation to determine an overpayment amount, the Medicare statute requires that it must make a finding that there is a sustained or high level of payment error or that documented...more

ALJ Appeals Frequently Favorable To Providers; OIG Calls For Reforms

The OIG recently published a report reviewing the implementation of 2005 regulations regarding the administrative law judge (ALJ) level of appeals, the third level of the Medicare appeals system. The 2005 regulatory changes...more

OIG Concludes Improvements Needed at ALJ Level of Review

The OIG issued a report on November 15, 2012 (OEI-02-10-00340) in which it concluded that the administrative law judge (ALJ) level of appeal requires improvements in a number of areas due to (i) apparent substantive...more

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