Health Information Management

Tip of the Week: Comply with the Deficit Reduction Act

APCs Insider, June 1, 2007

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When the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) became law in February 2006, your workload expanded to include a whole new set of tasks, such as creating new policies and procedures and trying to figure out how CMS was going to enforce the new legislation.

Although CMS' statements on the DRA haven't become much clearer, there is plenty that you, as a provider, can do to make sure that you are in compliance with the DRA, including the following:

1. Stay on top of documentation. Document your efforts (and audits), so you have proof that your facility is working to stay compliant.

2. Include information about the DRA in training. Regardless of whether you have an employee handbook, make sure that your employees are aware of the DRA and what it entails.

3. Seek guidance from Medicaid. This agency is responsible for reimbursing your facility, so when in doubt, turn to it to help you answer any questions.

4. Send material to Medicaid. This will show the agency that your organization is on top of its compliance game.

5. If applicable, keep your handbooks updated. If your facility meets the $5 million threshold, and you have created an employee handbook, understand that it is your responsibility to establish and disseminate written policies that your contractors and/or agents must also adopt.

However, if you do not have an employee handbook, remember that it not mandatory to have one. All the DRA requires is that, if you do have a handbook, you use the required language the DRA mandates.

(The above tip previously appeared in the May 2007 issue of Healthcare Auditing Strategies).



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