Monthly Archives: November 2011

Revalidation Required for Continued Medicare Payments

All Medicare-enrolled providers should be on the look-out for a “revalidation letter” from their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) between now and March 23, 2012. The notices are being sent in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Section 6401(a), which requires CMS to reevaluate all providers and suppliers enrolled with Medicare prior to March 25, 2011, under new screening guidelines. Newly enrolled providers and suppliers that submitted their enrollment applications to CMS on or after March 25, 2011, are not impacted.

To ease the burden on providers, the revalidation process will be prompted by MACs. Under existing guidelines (42 CFR 424.515(d)) CMS is permitted to conduct off-cycle revalidations for certain program integrity purposes. Therefore, MACs will be sending revalidation letters and instructions to each provider in stages. Upon receipt of a revalidation letter, the provider (or supplier) will have 60 days from the date of the letter to submit enrollment information and the 2011 application fee of $505. (Physicians, non-physician practitioners, physician group practices and non-group practices are not required to pay the enrollment fee.)

How to complete the revalidation process

When you receive notification from your MAC to revalidate, you have two options: 1) update your enrollment via the Internet-based PECOS; or 2) complete and submit the appropriate CMS 855 paper application for 2011.

PECOS allows you to review information currently on file, update and submit your revalidation via the Internet. First go to on the CMS website. Once you have submitted your revalidation, you must then print, sign, date, and mail the certification statement (along with all required supporting documentation) to your MAC.

To revalidate by paper, download the appropriate and current CMS-855 Medicare Enrollment application from the CMS website at Mail your completed application, along with all required supporting documentation, to the MAC address on your revalidation letter.

Second, all institutional providers and suppliers must submit an enrollment fee via the Pay.Gov online service. To pay your application fee, go to and type “CMS” in the search box under Find Public Forms, and click the GO button. Click on the CMS Medicare “Application Fee” link. Complete the form and submit payment as directed. You may submit your fee by electronic check, debit, or credit card. A confirmation screen will display indicating that payment was successfully made. This confirmation screen is your receipt and you should print it for your records. CMS strongly recommends that you mail a copy of this receipt to the Medicare contractor along with the Certification Statement for the enrollment application. CMS will notify the Medicare contractor that the application fee has been paid. Revalidations are processed only when fees have cleared. If needed, providers can request a waiver of the application fee if hardship can be verified.

What happens if a provider fails to revalidate?

Medicare providers and suppliers have 60 calendar days from the postmark date of the revalidation letter to submit the completed enrollment forms and pay the fee. Failure to comply as requested may result in the deactivation of your Medicare billing privileges. As stated in 42 CFR § 424, if an application is not received within 60 calendar days from the date of the request, CMS must revoke the provider’s billing privileges and impose a 1-year re-enrollment bar. It is important to note that a revocation, in this situation, will be effective 30 days after the notification of such action is mailed. The notice of revocation will also include your right to appeal. All appeals must be submitted in a timely manner to allow a re-examination of the revocation.

CMS is urging providers and suppliers to refrain from submitting a revalidation until your MAC notifies you to do so.  Proactively submitting a revalidation will significantly impact the ability to process applications in a timely fashion as well as the ability to take advantage of innovative technologies and streamlined enrollment processes currently under development by the CMS. If you would like to check to see if a revalidation letter has been sent, you can check online at: The provider’s CCN is needed to perform a search. For each CCN entered, a message will display advising whether or not a revalidation letter has been issued. If a revalidation letter has been issued, the date of the HMS request and revalidation application due date will be provided.

If you have questions about the revalidation process, or have received a notice of deactivation of Medicare billing privileges, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Smith & Associates for assistance.

Second ALF Workgroup Meeting Nets Few Recommendations

The second meeting for the Governor’s Assisted Living Workgroup, held last week on the University of South Florida’s campus in Tampa, fell short of producing any substantive recommendations that the entire panel would back. While representatives of various agencies gave presentations with their recommendations to improve ALF oversight, ALF operators were quick to point out problems with those recommendations.

In one example, Kathryn Hyer, an associate professor and director at USF’s School of Aging Studies, strongly recommended that ALF operators be required to have a bachelor’s degree in a health care-related field. Several members on the ALF panel stated that monies received for the care of ALF residents would never cover the cost of hiring an administrator with such education. Currently, Medicaid only reimburses assisted living facilities up to $32.20 per day for services provided to waiver residents.

Molly McKinstry, Deputy Secretary for Health Quality Assurance at the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), presented an overview of the state and local government’s role and responsibilities in regulating ALFs. Ms. McKinstry noted that Florida has experienced a 30-percent increase in the number of ALFs over the last several years, with more than half of all facilities having six or fewer beds. AHCA’s recommendations for improving ALF oversight included a revision of the complaint survey process to reflect a model used by Wisconsin, and to incorporate the following:

• An enhanced focus on the residents;
• Concentration on resident and family interviews, observations and record review;
• Improved consistency of surveys;
• Abbreviated surveys for high-performing ALFs (i.e., no history of complaints, consistent ownership, consistently good surveys).

The meeting ended with workgroup’s chairman, Larry Polivka, requesting panel members to read over the Florida Senate Committee on Health Regulation’s report on ALF oversight and warned members to be ready to discuss them at the last meeting, to be held in Miami in early November.

The Senate Committee report identified problems with AHCA’s survey and inspection process in that AHCA is not generating enough revenue from fees and fines to adequately fund the necessary number of ALF inspections needed in light of the increases in facilities. The report recommended more abbreviated inspections for facilities in compliance with the law, while requiring more frequent and extensive inspections of those ALFs that have recurring deficiencies.

The Senate report also recommended increased training and qualifications of Core Training Providers, which train ALF administrators. The report raises the possibility of returning the responsibility of core training back to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA), which was the agency with primary responsibility before the role was privatized in 2003 by the Florida Legislature. Other related suggestions included expanding the core training curriculum, increasing administrator qualifications to require a 2-4 year degree with coursework in gerontology or health care, increasing staff training and examinations, increasing staffing ratios at ALFs, and requiring special elopement training for staff members.

To ensure that AHCA consistently enforces penalties on poor-performing ALFs, the Senate report recommends legislation that removes the agency’s discretion to reduce administrative fines, moratoriums and other penalties when certain deficiencies or violations are discovered. Additionally, it was noted that consumers would benefit from an easy-to-use rating system (similar to Nursing Home Compare) that could be coordinated by the Ombudsman’s Office to help families make informed decisions about choosing an ALF.

Finally, the Senate report recommends streamlining agency oversight over those areas where more than one state agency performs a function in the regulatory process of ALFs.

While a site for the next meeting in Miami has not yet been announced, the panel is considering a two-day meeting on November 7-8, 2011.

If you have any questions regarding the workgroup or issues relating to ALF operation, regulation or agency action taken against your ALF, please feel free to contact one of the attorneys at Smith & Associates.