42 U.S.C. 1395ddd - Medicare Integrity Program

Cite as42 U.S.C. 1395ddd

(a) Establishment of Program

There is hereby established the Medicare Integrity Program (in this section referred to as the "Program") under which the Secretary shall promote the integrity of the medicare program by entering into contracts in accordance with this section with eligible entities, or otherwise, to carry out the activities described in subsection (b).

(b) Activities described

The activities described in this subsection are as follows:

(1) Review of activities of providers of services or other individuals and entities furnishing items and services for which payment may be made under this subchapter (including skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies), including medical and utilization review and fraud review (employing similar standards, processes, and technologies used by private health plans, including equipment and software technologies which surpass the capability of the equipment and technologies used in the review of claims under this subchapter as of August 21, 1996).

(2) Audit of cost reports.

(3) Determinations as to whether payment should not be, or should not have been, made under this subchapter by reason of section 1395y(b) of this title, and recovery of payments that should not have been made.

(4) Education of providers of services, beneficiaries, and other persons with respect to payment integrity and benefit quality assurance issues.

(5) Developing (and periodically updating) a list of items of durable medical equipment in accordance with section 1395m(a)(15) of this title which are subject to prior authorization under such section.

(6) The Medicare-Medicaid Data Match Program in accordance with subsection (g).

(c) Eligibility of entities

An entity is eligible to enter into a contract under the Program to carry out any of the activities described in subsection (b) if-

(1) the entity has demonstrated capability to carry out such activities;

(2) in carrying out such activities, the entity agrees to cooperate with the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Attorney General, and other law enforcement agencies, as appropriate, in the investigation and deterrence of fraud and abuse in relation to this subchapter and in other cases arising out of such activities;

(3) the entity complies with such conflict of interest standards as are generally applicable to Federal acquisition and procurement;

(4) the entity agrees to provide the Secretary and the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services with such performance statistics (including the number and amount of overpayments recovered, the number of fraud referrals, and the return on investment of such activities by the entity) as the Secretary or the Inspector General may request; and

(5) the entity meets such other requirements as the Secretary may impose.

In the case of the activity described in subsection (b)(5), an entity shall be deemed to be eligible to enter into a contract under the Program to carry out the activity if the entity is a carrier with a contract in effect under section 1395u of this title.

(d) Process for entering into contracts

The Secretary shall enter into contracts under the Program in accordance with such procedures as the Secretary shall by regulation establish, except that such procedures shall include the following:

(1) Procedures for identifying, evaluating, and resolving organizational conflicts of interest that are generally applicable to Federal acquisition and procurement.

(2) Competitive procedures to be used-

(A) when entering into new contracts under this section;

(B) when entering into contracts that may result in the elimination of responsibilities of an individual fiscal intermediary or carrier under section 202(b) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; and

(C) at any other time considered appropriate by the Secretary,

except that the Secretary may continue to contract with entities that are carrying out the activities described in this section pursuant to agreements under section 1395h of this title or contracts under section 1395u of this title in effect on August 21, 1996.

(3) Procedures under which a contract under this section may be renewed without regard to any provision of law requiring competition if the contractor has met or exceeded the performance requirements established in the current contract.

The Secretary may enter into such contracts without regard to final rules having been promulgated.

(e) Limitation on contractor liability

The Secretary shall by regulation provide for the limitation of a contractor's liability for actions taken to carry out a contract under the Program, and such regulation shall, to the extent the Secretary finds appropriate, employ the same or comparable standards and other substantive and procedural provisions as are contained in section 1320c-6 of this title.

(f) Recovery of overpayments

(1) Use of repayment plans

(A) In general

If the repayment, within 30 days by a provider of services or supplier, of an overpayment under this subchapter would constitute a hardship (as described in subparagraph (B)), subject to subparagraph (C), upon request of the provider of services or supplier the Secretary shall enter into a plan with the provider of services or supplier for the repayment (through offset or otherwise) of such overpayment over a period of at least 6 months but not longer than 3 years (or not longer than 5 years in the case of extreme hardship, as determined by the Secretary). Interest shall accrue on the balance through the period of repayment. Such plan shall meet terms and conditions determined to be appropriate by the Secretary.

(B) Hardship

(i) In general

For purposes of subparagraph (A), the repayment of an overpayment (or overpayments) within 30 days is deemed to constitute a hardship if-

(I) in the case of a provider of services that files cost reports, the aggregate amount of the overpayments exceeds 10 percent of the amount paid under this subchapter to the provider of services for the cost reporting period covered by the most recently submitted cost report; or

(II) in the case of another provider of services or supplier, the aggregate amount of the overpayments exceeds 10 percent of the amount paid under this subchapter to the provider of services or supplier for the previous calendar year.

(ii) Rule of application

The Secretary shall establish rules for the application of this subparagraph in the case of a provider of services or supplier that was not paid under this subchapter during the previous year or was paid under this subchapter only during a portion of that year.

(iii) Treatment of previous overpayments

If a provider of services or supplier has entered into a repayment plan under subparagraph (A) with respect to a specific overpayment amount, such payment amount under the repayment plan shall not be taken into account under clause (i) with respect to subsequent overpayment amounts.

(C) Exceptions

Subparagraph (A) shall not apply if-

(i) the Secretary has reason to suspect that the provider of services or supplier may file for bankruptcy or otherwise cease to do business or discontinue participation in the program under this subchapter; or

(ii) there is an indication of fraud or abuse committed against the program.

(D) Immediate collection if violation of repayment plan

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