New Commercial Repayment Center Contractor on the Horizon; WCRC Contract Protested

A recent press release from the Performant Financial Corporation announced it has been awarded the Commercial Repayment Center (CRC) contract by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Barring a bid protest, we expect a transition to the new CRC contractor over the next few months (CGI Federal’s contract, the outgoing CRC contractor, appears to run through 1/8/2018).

CRC Responsibilities

The Commercial Repayment Center is responsible for identifying and recovering primary payments mistakenly made by the Medicare program when another entity had primary payment responsibility (otherwise known as conditional payments). While CGI Federal has had the responsibility for recovering from group health plans for several years, it has been recovering from non-group health plans, such as a liability insurer, no-fault insurer, or workers’ compensation entity, only since 10/1/2015.

As those of you who have had any dealing with the CRC know, communication with the CRC following that start date was often frustrating as a result of long turnaround times to receive conditional payment information and inconsistent and contradictory responses from CRC representatives. While communication with the CRC has definitely improved over time, CMS has nonetheless chosen not to renew their contract with CGI Federal. CMS’s reasons are unstated, but as we noted in a recent article, CMS Releases Annual Report on CRC Conditional Payment Recovery, conditional payment amounts recovered by the CRC on behalf of Medicare declined from 2015 to 2016, despite the expansion of CRC’s recovery efforts to non-group health plans.

Besides the CRC contract, Performant currently acts as a Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) for Medicare’s fee-for-service program (Parts A and B). As a RAC, Performant identifies and corrects improper payments made to medical providers as a result of insufficient documentation to support the payment, payments made which do not meet CMS guidelines and payments made for services that are incorrectly coded.

Similar to the RAC contract, the CRC contract is paid on a contingency basis. Consequently, the CRC contractor has an incentive to recover as much as possible on behalf of CMS. Per the Performant press release, “at full scale, Performant anticipates staffing the program with over 250 dedicated employees operating out of Performant’s offices around the country.”

CMS contractor transitions (see below bid protest) usually do not go as smoothly as advertised, thus we will wait and see how effectively this new contractor takes on the role as the CRC. We will advise you of any important developments during to and subsequent to the contractor transition.

WCRC Contract Under Protest

In a 9/11/2017 article, CMS to Transition to New MSA Review Contractor, we detailed the awarding of the new $60 million, five-year contract, for the Workers Compensation Review Center (WCRC) to Capitol Bridge, LLC. Two of the unsuccessful bidders, Arch Systems, and Ken Consulting, have filed formal protests to the awarding of the contract to Capitol Bridge. The protests are to be resolved by 12/21/2017. It appears then that this will delay the transition to the new WCRC. We will keep you apprised of any notable news on the WCRC transition.

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