In December of 2019, two new rules were proposed by the federal government to increase the number of organ transplants in the United States. As of July 2019, 113,000 Americans sat on the national transplant waiting list. The first proposed rule would change the way Organ Procurement Organizations (“OPO”) report data on the number of organs procured. The second proposed rule creates new legislation to assist living donors after their transplant procedures. Both rules were proposed by the Health and Human Services Department (“HHS”) as a follow up to President Trump’s Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health.
On October 24, President Trump signed a new bill aimed at combatting issues arising from the opioid epidemic. This bill, entitled the Substance-Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (the “SUPPORT” Act) is a combination of seventy bills that effect the healthcare industry. This act includes new and revised Medicaid and Medicare laws that relate to the opioid crisis through the expansion of substance use disorder services. However, this bill, primarily aimed to combat the opioid epidemic, contains key provisions that will affect healthcare providers. Healthcare providers should be especially mindful of this new Act, as there are new anti-kickback provisions that require compliance officers and departments to ensure that their healthcare entities are in compliance with this new law.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“the Parity Act”) is a federal civil rights and consumer protection law. The Parity Act prohibits most public and private insurance plans from imposing more restrictive standards on mental health (“MH”) and substance use disorder (“SUD”) benefits than they impose on similar medical/surgical benefits. However, ten years since its passage, states have failed to appropriately enforce the Parity Act.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have a multitude of resources to detect and protect against fraud and abuse in claims. Particularly, CMS has at least six types of contractors that provide different roles in the prevention, detection, and reporting of fraud and abuse in healthcare. This list includes Recovery Auditors, which serve to reduce fraud and abuse by detecting and collecting overpayments from entities and Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) Contractors, which determine rates of improper payments by reviewing claims under Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS). Another auditor that providers should be particularly mindful of are the Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs). This article is an overview ZPICS, its role in Medicare, and outlines the steps providers should take when faced with an audit by ZPICs.