Transmittal 825: What Credentials are Required to Perform Medical Record Reviews?

on Tuesday, 06 November 2018. All News Items | Documentation | Coding

Who Can Review You?

CMS published Transmittal 825 on September 1, 2018. The purpose of this transmittal was to instruct Contractors on which healthcare professionals should be performing medical record reviews for the purpose of making coverage determinations. Guidance in this transmittal had an effective and implementation date of October 22, 2018.

Background

The Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) Medical Review Program performs reviews to carry out the goal of reducing “payment error by preventing the initial payment of claims that do not comply with Medicare’s coverage, coding, payment, and billing policies.” To accomplish this goal, MACs identify noncompliance through:

  • Analysis of data (e.g., profiling providers, services, or beneficiary utilization), and
  • Evaluation of other information (e.g., complaints, enrollment and/or cost report data).

Credentials of Medical Reviewers 

This Transmittal instructs MACs, the Medical Review Accuracy Contractor (MRAC) and the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) Contractor that record reviews for the purpose of making coverage determinations must be performed by RNs, therapists or physicians. Current Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) performing medical reviews can be grandfathered in and continue to perform reviews. However, Contractors are to no longer hire new LPNs to perform reviews.

Zone Program Integrity Contractor (ZPIC)/Unified Program Integrity Contractor (UPIC), Recovery Auditors (RACs) and the Supplemental Medical Review Contractor (SMRC) must ensure reviewer credentials are consistent with the requirements in their respective Statements of Work (SOWs).

Advice from Other Health Care Professionals

In addition to advising who can perform the reviews, this transmittal adds the following new guidance to Chapter 3, Section 3.3.1.1 of the Medicare Program Integrity Manual:  

  • “The MACs, MRAC, and CERT, shall ensure that services reviewed by other licensed health care professionals are within their scope of practice and that their MR strategy supports the need for their specialized expertise in the adjudication of particular claim type (i.e., speech therapy claim, physical therapy).”

Who are Your Contractors?

For those not closely involved with Medicare Medical Reviews, you can see from this Transmittal there are a lot of Contractors requesting and reviewing records. To find out the specific Contractors that could be requesting records, you can go to the Review Contractor Directory Interactive Map on the CMS website. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Monitoring-Programs/Medicare-FFS-Compliance-Programs/Review-Contractor-Directory-Interactive-Map/.

Article by Beth Cobb

Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Services at Medical Management Plus, Inc.  Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. 

In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Assessment Tool. You may contact Beth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice.  Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.

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