Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Existing or Delinquent Overpayments / Non-CMS-855 Enrollment Activities / Form CMS-855B Applications Submitted by Hospitals / PECOS Information

Existing or Delinquent Overpayments 

Consistent with 42 CFR §424.530(a)(6), an enrollment application may be denied if: (1) the current owner (as that term is defined in 42 CFR §424.502) of the applying provider or supplier, or (2) the applying physician or non-physician practitioner, has an existing overpayment that is equal to or exceeds a threshold of $1,500 and it has not been repaid in full at the time the application was filed. 

To this end, the contractor shall:  

• When processing a Form CMS-855A, CMS-855B, or 855S initial or change of ownership application, determine – using a system generated daily listing - whether any of the owners listed in section 5 or 6 of the application has an existing or delinquent Medicare overpayment.  

• When processing a Form CMS-855I initial application, determine – using a system generated daily listing - whether the physician or non-physician practitioner has an existing or delinquent Medicare overpayment.  (For purposes of this requirement, the term “non-physician practitioner” includes physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse-midwives, clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, and registered dietitians or nutrition professionals.)  

If an owner, physician, or non-physician practitioner has such an overpayment, the contractor shall deny the application, using 42 CFR §424.530(a)(6) as the basis.  However, prior approval from CMS’ Provider Enrollment & Oversight Group (PEOG) is required before proceeding with the denial.  The contractor shall under no circumstances deny an application under §424.530(a)(6) without receiving PEOG approval to do so.  Consider the following examples:  

Example #1:  Hospital X has a $200,000 overpayment.  It terminates its Medicare enrollment.  Three months later, it reopens as Hospital Y and submits a new Form CMS-855A application for enrollment as such.  A denial is not warranted because §424.530 (a)(6) only applies to physicians, practitioners, and owners.  Example #2:  Dr. John Smith’s practice (“Smith Medicine”) is set up as a sole proprietorship.  He incurs a $50,000 overpayment.  

He terminates his Medicare enrollment.  Six months later, he tries to enroll as a sole proprietorship; his practice is named “JS Medicine.”  A denial is warranted because §424.530 (a)(6) applies to physicians and the $50,000 overpayment was attached to him as the sole proprietor.  Example #3 - Same scenario as example #2, but assume that his new practice is an LLC of which he is only a 30 percent owner.  

A denial is not warranted because the provision applies to owners and, again, the $50,000 overpayment was attached to him.  Example #4 - Jane Smith is a nurse practitioner in a solo practice.  Her practice (“Smith Medicine”) is set up as a closely-held corporation, of which she is the 100 percent owner.  Smith Medicine is assessed a $20,000 overpayment.  She terminates her Medicare enrollment.  Nine months later, she submits a Form CMS-855I application to enroll Smith Medicine as a new supplier.  The business will be established as a sole proprietorship.  

A denial is not warranted because the $20,000 overpayment was attached to Smith Medicine, not to Jane Smith.  Excluded from denial under §424.535(a)(6) are individuals or entities (1) on a Medicare-approved plan of repayment or (2) whose overpayments are currently being offset or being appealed. 

NOTE:  The contractors shall also observe the following:  
• In determining whether an overpayment exists, the contractor need only review its own records; it need not contact other contractors to determine whether the person or entity has an overpayment in those contractor jurisdictions. 

• The instructions in this section 15.8.4 apply only to (1) initial enrollments, and 
(2) new owners in a change of ownership.  The term “owner” under section §424.502 means any individual or entity that has any partnership interest in, or that has 5 percent or more direct or indirect ownership of the provider or supplier as defined in sections 1124 and 1124A(A) of the Act)  

• If the person or entity had an overpayment at the time the application was filed but repaid it in full by the time the contractor performed the review described in this section 15.8.4, the contractor shall not deny the application based on 42 CFR §424.530(a)(6). 

Non-CMS-855 Enrollment Activities 

There are situations where the contractor processes non-CMS-855 forms and other documentation relating to provider enrollment.  Such activities include:  

• EFT agreements (Form CMS-588) submitted alone  
• "Do Not Forward" issues  
• Par agreements (Form CMS-460)  
• Returned remittance notices  
• Informational letters received from other contractors  
• Diabetes self-management notices  
• Verification of new billing services 
• Paramedic intercept contracts 
• 1099 issues that need to be resolved 

Unless specified otherwise in this chapter or another CMS directive, the contractor shall not create a logging and tracking record for any non-CMS-855 document or activity other than the processing of par agreements.  The contractor should track and record all other activities internally.  

Contractor Communications 

Medicare contractors create Associate and Enrollment Records in the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS).  Ownership of an Associate or Enrollment Record belongs to the contractor within whose jurisdiction the provider/supplier is located.  PECOS only permits the contractor that created the Associate or Enrollment Record (the “owning contractor”) to make updates, changes, or corrections to those records.  (That is, the owning contractor is the only contractor that can make changes to the associate record.)  

Occasionally, updates, changes, or corrections do not come to the owning contractor’s attention, but instead go to a different contractor.  In those situations, the contractor that has been notified of the update/change/correction (the “requesting” contractor) must convey the changed information to the owning contractor so that the latter can update the record in PECOS.  The requesting contractor may notify the owning contractor via fax of the need to update/change/correct information in a provider’s 

PECOS record.  The notification must contain:   

1. The provider’s legal business name, Provider Transaction Access Number, and National Provider Identifier; and 

2. The updated/changed/corrected data (by including a copy of the appropriate  section of the Form CMS-855).  Within 7 calendar days of receiving the requesting contractor’s request for a change to a PECOS record, the owning contractor shall make the change and notify the requesting contractor thereof via fax, e-mail, or telephone.  If the owning contractor is reluctant to make the change, it shall contact its CMS Provider Enrollment & Oversight Group (PEOG) liaison for guidance.  

Note that the owning contractor may ask the requesting contractor for any additional information about the provider it deems necessary (e.g., IRS documentation, licenses).  

The owning contractor need not ask the provider for a Form CMS-855 change of information in associate profile situations.  It can simply use the Form CMS-855 copy that the requesting contractor sent/faxed to the owning contractor.  For instance, suppose Provider X is enrolled in two different contractor jurisdictions – A and B.  

The provider enrolled with “A” first; its legal business name was listed as “John Brian Smith Hospital.”  It later enrolls with “B” as “John Bryan Smith Hospital.”  “B” has verified that “John Bryan Smith Hospital” is the correct name and sends a request to “A” to fix the name.  “A” is not required to ask the provider to submit a Form CMS855A change of information.  It can use the CMS-855A copy that it received from “B.”  


The contractor shall adhere to the following regarding the enrollment of provider-based entities:  

• Certified Provider or Certified Supplier Initially Enrolling – Suppose an HHA or other certified provider or certified supplier wishes to enroll and become provider-based to a hospital.  The provider/supplier must enroll with the contractor as a separate entity.  It cannot be listed as a practice location on the hospital’s Form CMS855A. 

• Certified Provider or Certified Supplier Changing its Provider-Based 
Status – If a certified provider or certified supplier is changing its status from providerbased to freestanding or vice versa, it need not submit any updates to its Form CMS855 enrollment.  

• Group Practice Initially Enrolling – If a group practice is enrolling in Medicare and will become provider-based to a hospital, the group generally must enroll via the Form CMS-855B if it wants to bill for practitioner services.  The group would also need to be listed or added as a practice location on the hospital’s Form CMS-855A.  

• Group Practice Changing from Provider-Based to Freestanding – In this situation, the hospital should submit a Form CMS-855A change request that deletes the clinic as a practice location.  The group may also need to change the type of clinic it is enrolled as; this may require a new Form CMS-855B.  

• Group Practice Changing from Freestanding to Provider-Based – Here, the hospital must submit a Form CMS-855A change request adding the group as a practice location.  The group may also need to change the type of clinic it is enrolled as; this may require a new Form CMS-855B.  Unless the CMS regional office (RO) dictates otherwise, the contractor shall not delay the processing of any practice location addition applications pending receipt of provider-based attestations or RO approval of provider-based status. 

Form CMS-855B Applications Submitted by Hospitals 

A.  Group Practices  

If an entity is enrolling via the Form CMS-855B as a hospital-owned clinic/physician practice, the contractor shall contact the applicant to determine whether the latter will be billing any of the listed locations as provider-based.  If the applicant will not be billing as provider-based, the contractor shall process the application normally.  If, however, the applicant will bill as provider-based, the contractor shall notify the applicant that the hospital must report any changed practice locations to its contractor via the Form CMS-855A.  

If the supplier is enrolling as a hospital department (under the “Clinic/Group Practice” category on the Form CMS-855B) or an existing hospital department is undergoing a change of ownership (CHOW), the contractor shall only issue the necessary billing numbers upon notification that a provider agreement has been issued – or, in the case of a CHOW, the provider agreement has been transferred to the new owner.  If, however, the supplier is enrolling as a group practice that is merely owned by a hospital (as opposed to being a hospital department), it is not necessary for the contractor to wait until the provider agreement is issued before conveying billing privileges to the group.  

B.  Individual Billings  

Assume an individual physician works for a hospital and will be billing for services as an individual (i.e., not as part of the hospital service/payment).  However, he/she wants to reassign these benefits to the hospital.  The hospital will need to enroll with the contractor via the Form CMS-855B (e.g., as a hospital department, outpatient location). 

General Information 

The contractor shall follow the instructions in CMS Publication 100-04, chapter 1, sections 30 through when handling issues related to par agreements and assignment.  Queries related to the interpretation of such instructions shall be referred to the responsible CMS component.  Individual physicians and non-physician practitioners who reassign benefits to a clinic/group practice inherit the Par status established by the clinic/group practice.  However, if the individual physician or non-physician practitioner maintains a private practice, separate from the reassignment of benefits agreement, he/she may designate their own Par status.  Refer to the instructions in Publication 100-04, chapter 1, section 30 for applying the correct Par status to clinic/group practices, organizations and individuals in private practice.  

PECOS Information 

All providers/suppliers must choose to be either Par or Non-Par when enrolling and must maintain the same Par status across all lines of business. The MAC shall search PECOS to determine if an enrollment already exists with the enrolling provider or supplier’s legal business information (i.e.: Legal Business Name, Federal Tax Identification Number).  

No Par status change shall be made by the MAC without confirmation from the provider/supplier first. In the event that a provider/supplier submits a Par Agreement and they are currently enrolled as Non-Par, the MAC must confirm with the provider/supplier that the change in the Par status is valid 
for all lines of business.  

Likewise, if a provider/supplier does not submit a Par Agreement, and they are enrolled as Par or Non-Par, the MAC shall confirm that the provider or supplier is not changing their current Par status across all lines of business. 


There are physicians and other individual practitioners who do not wish to enroll in the Medicare program.  Physicians and practitioners (but not organizations) can “opt-out” of Medicare.  This means that neither the physician nor the beneficiary submits the bill to Medicare for services performed.  Instead, the beneficiary pays the physician out-ofpocket and neither party is reimbursed by Medicare.  
In fact, a private contract is signed between the physician and the beneficiary that states, in essence, that neither one can receive payment from Medicare for the services that were performed.  (The contract, of course, must be signed before the services are provided so the beneficiary is fully aware of the physician’s opt-out status.)  Moreover, the supplier must submit an affidavit to Medicare expressing his/her decision to opt-out of the program.  

The provider enrollment unit must process these affidavits.  The difference between opting-out and not accepting assignment is relatively straightforward.  If the practitioner opts-out, neither he/she nor the beneficiary can bill Medicare.  If the practitioner chooses not to accept assignment, he/she must still enroll in Medicare and must submit the bill to the contractor.  (For additional information on “opt-out,” see Pub. 100-02, chapter 15, section 40.)  

In an emergency care or urgent care situation, a physician or practitioner who opts out may treat a Medicare beneficiary with whom he or she does not have a private contract. In those circumstances, the physician or practitioner must complete a CMS-855 application after the emergency services were provided.  

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