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Don't Rule Them Out

HomeCare (08/07) P. 52 ; Caesar, Neil
 
Home health firms can benefit from the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) stipulations even though the act only covers healthcare firms receiving $5 million in Medicaid payments annually, according to experts. DRA outlines the components of compliant employee training and education activities for these covered firms, and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued similar requirements, particularly governing written policies for contractors, agents, and others engaged in the billing and coding processes of healthcare firms.
 
Home health firms may not be included in the regulations, but they can stave off liability and risk related to fraud and abuse within their organizations. Home care firms must teach employees, including contractors and agents, about state and federal fraud and abuse laws, false claims acts, and regulations regarding false claims remedies. Other regulations needing explanation include those protecting whistleblowers.
 
Experts recommend even small firms create written policies, procedures, and training programs to address these issues, and firms should employ an attorney to ensure the programs are comprehensive. Even if policies are in place and employees undergo training in these areas, firms will still need to institute monitoring and investigative programs to weed out fraud and encourage workers to be honest and pinpoint possible problems before legal actions are taken.
 
 


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