Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will the Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) program be realigned under the final regulation issued July 5, 2017?
As reconfigured under the final regulation of July 5, 2017, MEQC will work in conjunction with the Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM) program. In those years when states undergo their triennial PERM reviews, the states will not conduct MEQC pilots. The latter will only be required in the two off-years between PERM review years. CMS has restructured the MEQC program so that it more effectively complements the PERM program and provides states with the necessary flexibility and opportunity to target specific problems or high-interest areas during the two off-years of the PERM cycle.
How does Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) differ from Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM)?
The MEQC requirements on active case reviews generally mirror the requirements of the eligibility component of PERM reviews. The regulation requires that states perform reviews of a sample of active Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cases to identify new eligibility approvals and renewals that were made in error. As in PERM, states will be required to submit case-level reports on the sampled cases they review and corrective action plans that describe steps taken to remediate the errors found.
However, in contrast to PERM, when states identify errors in their active Medicaid and CHIP cases, they will be required to undertake a payment review. This will consist of a review of all claims paid over the first three months after an erroneous eligibility determination was made, and a summary of the overstated or understated liability. States will in turn be required to submit adjustments to the amount of federal financial participation (FFP) claimed through the CMS-64 reporting process for Medicaid and the CMS-21 reporting process for CHIP. The adjustments are required for identified claims in which too much or too little FFP was received. There is no payment review or re-crediting requirement in PERM, although disallowance of FFP can be taken in states whose PERM error rate exceeds the national threshold of 3% based on a formula described at 42 CFR 431.1010. MEQC contains no such disallowance provision.
The MEQC program also contains one other significant element that is not found in PERM. Besides the requirement that states review at least 400 cases in their active case universe (including a minimum of 200 cases), MEQC requires states to review at least 400 negative case actions. At least 200 of these must be Medicaid and 200 must be CHIP. Negative case actions involve erroneous denials of Medicaid or CHIP eligibility or erroneous terminations from Medicaid or CHIP. This is an area with no PERM counterpart in which states will be developing case-level reporting and corrective actions. Negative case action reviews will not be triggered by PERM findings. Largely for this reason, the regulation requires that states pull their sample of these from the entire Medicaid and CHIP universe of cases. By sampling from the full range of Medicaid and CHIP cases, states should be able to obtain an overview of those sectors in their programs that may be especially vulnerable to improper denials or terminations.
What was the traditional Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) program based on and how has it changed?
The traditional MEQC program at 42 CFR § 431.810 through 431.822 was originally designed to implement sections 1902(a)(4) “Administration Methods for Proper and Efficient Operation of the State Plan” and 1903(u) “Limitation of FFP for Erroneous Medical Assistance Expenditures” of the Social Security Act (the Act). The program required annual state reviews of Medicaid cases identified through a statistically valid statewide sample of cases selected from the state’s eligibility files. The reviews were conducted to determine whether the sampled cases meet applicable Medicaid eligibility requirements. The program evolved over time to allow states the option of selecting specific areas of focus within the Medicaid program for their annual MEQC reviews.
On July 5, 2017, CMS published a final regulation entitled “Changes to the Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM) and Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) Programs (CMS-Medicaid Coordination of Benefits8- F).” This final rule updated the MEQC and PERM programs based on the changes to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new regulation has restructured the MEQC program into an ongoing series of pilots that states are required to conduct during the two off-years between triennial PERM review years. The MEQC portions of the regulation are now covered by 42 CFR §§ 431.800-820.
What deliverables must states furnish to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) per the new Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) regulation?
The regulation requires states to submit a pilot planning document to CMS by November 1 of the year in which each state’s PERM review year ends. The pilot planning document must describe how states will conduct their active and negative case reviews and must be approved by CMS before the MEQC pilots can begin. In addition, the regulation requires states to submit case-level reports and corrective action plans to CMS by August 1 of the year after the MEQC review period ends. The specifications for the MEQC pilot planning documents are provided in the MEQC sub-regulatory guidance effective August 29, 2018. More details on the specifications of the case-level reports and corrective action plans are included in a second round of guidance, MEQC sub-regulatory guidance effective October 22, 2018.
When a facility has been in operation for the dates of service covered by the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) demonstration, can a state demonstrate the UPL by using less than 12 months of data?
In accordance with Medicare cost reporting, the state must use 12 months of cost data reported by each facility. With regard to payment data, the state should use actual amounts, to the extent available, then calculate a claims completion factor based on historic utilization. The state’s UPL submission must include an explanation of its methodology to estimate payments. The use of a claims completion factor provides a reasonable estimate of the amount that Medicare would pay for these services, consistent with the UPL as defined at 42 CFR 447.272.
Can a state type information and data into unlocked fields in the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) templates or must the data from state-developed UPL reports/workbooks be mapped through, for example, V-Look-ups into the UPL templates?
Yes. Mapping data, through V-Look-ups, for example, is a much easier and consistent process for current and future UPL submissions. However, a state may choose to type information and data into unlocked fields in the UPL templates. When a state chooses to input data directly (not through a V-Look-up) into the template, it still must provide the supporting documentation with the source data. Additionally, the state should explain how it mapped data from the supporting documentation into the template. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services utilizes the supporting information to confirm that the information in the templates is correct.
What data should my state provide to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the annual Upper Payment Limit demonstrations?
Effective state fiscal year 2020, each state must submit a complete data set of payments to Medicaid providers, including providers paid at cost, as well as critical access hospitals. This would require states to submit cost and payment data to CMS that previously was not requested.
How will the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) disseminate the list of Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes subject to the federal financial participation (FFP) limit each year?
Annually, CMS will request a list of covered durable medical equipment HCPCS codes from the Medicare Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding Contractor. Once the list is received, CMS will distribute the list through the CMS Regional Office Associate Regional Administrator.
States have raised concerns around the federal financial participation (FFP) limit demonstration due date because they may not have received all durable medical equipment (DME) claims from providers at the point demonstrations are due. How may a state ensure compliance with the FFP limit without allowing for a claims run-out period.
To address claims run-out and ensure compliance with the FFP limit, we recommend states with these concerns conduct interim FFP limit demonstrations for DME no later than three months after the end of the calendar year for the previous calendar year (that is, January 1-December 31). The interim DME FFP limit demonstration will be due by March 31 of each calendar year and will contain data for the period of January 1 to December 31 of the preceding year. The final demonstration would be due one year later on March 31 and include all claims received during the run-out period dates of service within the interim demonstration period. The interim demonstration process should provide states with an understanding of potential violations of the FFP to make any necessary budgeting and rate changes. This method is being used to allow provide for a reasonable claims run out period as allowed under 42 CFR 424.44, which states that claims must be filed no later than one calendar year after the date of service.
Will there be any automatic updates coming through the Federal data services hub? Or will we always need to make a call to the Federal data services hub in order to get any information back? If a change is likely will the state need to send ongoing, frequent requests through the Federal data services hub?
Generally, information from the Federal data services hub will only be sent in direct response to a call from the requesting entity. However, in the case of verifications conducted by DHS, there can be up to three steps to a verification, the second and third of which will not be in real time. If the step 1 query fails, the Federal data services hub will automatically invoke step 2, and the response may take up to several days. If step 2 fails, the Federal data services hub will notify the requesting entity which will need to submit additional documentation from the applicant for step 3. The step 3 response can take weeks. During this time, the Federal data services hub will regularly poll DHS to see if the response has come back.
- This FAQ was released as part of a larger set. View the full set. (PDF, 104.38 KB)