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.
Is there a simplified Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM)/Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) timeline with milestone dates/cycles that can be provided to states (all cycles)?
The PERM/MEQC dates/cycles are as follows:
|PERM Cycle*||PERM Review Period||MEQC Planning Document Due to CMS||MEQC Review Period||MEQC Case-Level Report on Findings and CAP Due to CMS|
|Cycle 1||July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018||November 1, 2018||January 1 – December 1, 2019||August 1, 2020|
|Cycle 2||July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019||November 1, 2019||January 1 – December 1, 2020||August 1, 2021|
|Cycle 3||July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020||November 1, 2020||January 1 – December 1, 2021||August 1, 2022|
CMS = Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
CAP = ??
When a state pays a provider at reconciled cost using Certified Public Expenditures during the period covered by the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) demonstration, how should the provider's data be treated?
The UPL limits payment to the Medicare rate or cost. Providers paid at reconciled cost may receive no more than their reconciled amount. As a result, states cannot attribute the “UPL room” from other providers to pay additional amounts to any provider paid at reconciled cost. Due to this payment limitation, states should not include any provider paid at reconciled cost in their UPL demonstrations; however, they must account for these providers. Specifically, states must include with their UPL submissions documentation of those providers paid at reconciled cost and confirm by provider use of either a Medicare cost report or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-approved cost report template to identify allowed cost. Further, states must document the ownership status (state owned, non-state government owned, or private) of each provider.
Our state included dental services along with physician (non-dental) services in our state's Upper Payment Limit (UPL) demonstration of the practitioner Average Commercial Rate (ACR) using the Medicare Equivalent of the ACR. Should we keep both services together in one demonstration or should we separate the services out for two different ACR demonstrations?
Dental services are not covered under Medicare, which means the state may not compare Medicaid rates for comparable dental services for the Medicare Equivalent of the ACR. The state may calculate a dental ACR in order to make supplemental payments to dental services providers and continue to calculate the Medicare Equivalent of the ACR for other services covered by Medicare. The state should submit two separate ACR demonstrations, one for dental services and one for physician (non-dental) services. This will involve completing two versions of the Office of Management and Budget-approved template. If the same provider provides both physician and dental services the state would differentiate the provider information between the two demonstrations by appending the Medicare Certification Number (Medicare ID) (variable 112) with a letter, such as an -A or a -B. For example, if the Medicare ID was 123456, it would be depicted in the physician ACR as 123456-A and in the dental ACR as 12345-B. If a Medicare Certification Number is not available then the state should append the Medicaid Provider Number.
Can states that pay for inpatient hospital services using Diagnosis Related Grous (DRGs), but historically used a cost-based UPL, continue to use the cost-based Upper Payment Limit (UPL) method?
Yes, states may use UPL methodologies that are different from their payment methodologies. For example, a state may pay for inpatient hospital services using a Medicaid APR-DRG methodology, but use a cost methodology to compute the Medicare upper payment limit for its UPL demonstration.
How should cost data reported for a partial year be treated either when one hospital acquires another hospital or a hospital ceases operation?
When a hospital acquires another hospital, the state should use all available data to determine the UPL and work with CMS to assure appropriate reporting. When a hospital ceases operation, the state should not annualize data if it does not cover a 12-month period.
When a state pays a provider at cost during the period covered by the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) demonstration, how should the provider's data be treated?
The UPL limits payment to the Medicare rate or cost. Providers paid at cost may receive no more than their reconciled amount. As a result, states cannot attribute the "UPL room" from other providers to pay additional amounts to any provider paid at cost. Due to this payment limitation, states should not include any provider paid at cost in their UPL demonstrations; however, they must account for these providers. Specifically, states must include with their UPL submissions documentation of those providers paid at cost and, therefore, excluded from the calculation of the UPL.