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New RAC FAQ Explores Communications, Review Topics

Andrea Kraynak, May 21, 2009

CMS released four new and updated Recovery Audit Contractor FAQ on Tuesday. The FAQ range from the broad ("Why is CMS using RACs?") to the specific ("Will the RACs review evaluation and management services on physician claims under Part B?"). A third question updates the contact information for each region's RAC. The fourth new FAQ informs readers where to go with questions concerning RAC communications.

"Providers should first attempt to contact the RAC through the customer service line. If that does not answer the provider's questions and/or concerns, then the provider can contact CMS," according to the FAQ. (Contact CMS regarding RAC questions or concerns at CMS RAC@cms.hhs.gov.)

Interestingly, the FAQ concerning RAC contact information does not specifically contain Web site address information, which many providers may find most useful—especially as the permanent program implementation moves forward and the RACs begin posting lists of issues for which RACs will audit. While not all of the RAC Web sites have been approved or announced by CMS at this time, the following sites are currently correct for the RACs:

Providers may stay on top of the latest RAC information by closely watching the CMS RAC Web site and the entire list of RAC FAQ. CMS updates both regularly—occasionally releasing new, important, and occasionally surprising information in this manner. In addition, CMS frequently updates its list of RAC outreach and educational opportunities available for providers on its Web site, and has recently provided an online slide presentation for those unable to attend other live outreach sessions.

Take advantage of the RAC education available as much as possible in the coming days. Chances are CMS and the RACs will have important announcements to make as they near the time when the RACs begin reviewing claims in locations in the first set of states.

Early estimates had targeted May as the time when this process would begin, though this may have been an ambitious date—CMS has indicated the RACs must post the list of issues they'll be reviewing prior to reviewing any claims, and none of the RAC Web sites contain this information at this point. But watch your RAC's Web site carefully for this information.

May is not yet over, and CMS and the RACs may still be trying to meet their original goal to begin reviewing claims this month.


Andrea Kraynak, CPC-A is managing editor of the RAC Report, the Coding Educator, and for the Revenue Cycle Institute. Contact her at akraynak@hcpro.com.

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