CMS Revises Office of Civil Rights Clearance Procedures
September 12, 2016 02:37 PM
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issueda Survey and Certification Memo announcing revisions to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) clearance process for new providers and Changes of Ownership (CHOW). CMS has worked closely with the OCR to develop a new process that requires providers electronically submit an attestation of compliance with the civil rights requirements to the OCR before the State Survey Agencies (SA) and Regional Offices (RO) may process requests for initial surveys or CHOWs. Confirmation from OCR of successful submission of the attestation will meet the requirements for OCR clearance and eliminates the need for CMS RO to issue provisional provider agreements. OCR began receiving electronic attestations on September 1, 2016.
Previously,a provider seeking to enroll in Medicare or CHOW must establish and maintain compliance with civil rights requirements. The SA provides the required OCR Certification Information Request Packet to all applicants for certification and any certified provider undergoing a CHOW. The provider is asked to complete the forms within the packet and return them to the SA. The SA forwards the forms to the RO with the application packet.
Upon receipt of the documents, the RO forwards the applicable forms to the OCR for processing and clearance. The OCR makes the determination of compliance and notifies CMS of its determination. If the RO does not receive OCR clearance within 20 calendar days of submission of the documents to OCR it may issue a restricted provider agreement with a contingency clause. The contingency clause states that if OCR subsequently issues a non-approval, the Medicare payment will be recouped as of the date the provider agreement was effective. Since the majority of compliance determinations from OCR are received significantly past the 20 calendar day mark, the provider is placed at financial risk for long periods of time and additional workload may be created for SAs and ROs. To address these concerns, CMS has collaborated with OCR to implement a revised civil rights clearance procedure.