This post was written by Jason M. Healy.
By now, most Medicare providers have heard about the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) demonstration and that it is currently being rolled out nationwide as a permanent program. On November 4, 2008, however, CMS imposed an automatic stay on the RAC program after two unsuccessful bidders for RAC contracts filed protests with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO has 100 days to issue its decision, which means that all RAC program work is on hold until early February 2009.
Because the three-year demonstration program that ended in March of last year was limited to six states (New York, Florida, California, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Arizona), it may not be obvious to all providers and suppliers that RACs pose a threat when the RAC program resumes. To understand that threat and how best to address it, it is important to understand where RACs will operate; what RAC auditors are designed to do and how they audit; where your claims fit within a RAC’s set of priorities; and your rights as a Medicare provider or supplier to challenge RAC overpayment determinations through appeal.