CMS delays Medicaid RAC implementation

The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services has put off the deadline for states to implement their Medicaid recovery audit contractor (RAC) programs until an unspecified time later this year, reports AHA News Now.

The original date was April 1. However, a CMS bulletin has pushed back the date until later in 2011.

"Out of consideration for state operational issues and to ensure states comply with the provisions of the final rule, we have determined that states will not be required to implement their RAC programs by the proposed implementation date," CMS said in a statement. Instead, when it issues its final rules for the RAC programs, a date for implementation will be included. CMS issued its proposed rules for Medicaid RACs last November.

The American Hospital Association lobbied CMS late last year to exempt states from having to obtain Medicaid RACs if they were already involved in the Medicaid Integrity Program or other audit programs. It also urged a similar exemption for states that allowed Medicaid managed care, noting that such programs already put providers under scrutiny by the participating managed care organizations. It is unknown whether the AHA's lobbying contributed to the agency's decision to push back the implementation.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now article
- read the CMS statement (.pdf)