Video: Rep. Meadows Roasts CMS on Audits

North Carolina takes CMS to task on ALJ delay during House Oversight and Government Reform hearing.

Apparently fed up with CMS’s lack of responsiveness when it came to his queries regarding the negative impact audits were having on small HME provider businesses in his district, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) grilled a CMS official in Congress.

Rep. Meadows pointedly asked CMS’s Shantanu Agrawal about CMS’s mismanagement of the audit backlog during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.

Watch the full video:

CMS says its backlog of audits awaiting review has nearly reached the 1 million case mark. Furthermore, the agency’s Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals recently announced it would delay assigning Adminstrative Law Judges to cases for two years. This creates a number of serious problems for providers.

“Here we are with the budget request that says the backlog is going to reach 1 million,” Meadows said during the hearing. “At what point does it become a crisis? At what point? When you start putting companies out of business? You already are! When does it become a crisis that you are willing to do something about?”

Agrawal replied that if the audit process was putting companies out of business that the agency had the flexibility to work with them, but Meadows was not satisfied with the response, and argued it flew in the face of his personal experience.

“But you don’t,” the lawmaker said. “I’ve already called on behalf of my constituents. That would be a great response but it’s not true. I’ve dealt with Jonathan Blum. I’ve called to make sure Kathleen Sebelius knew about it. I’ve called the White House — and you say, ‘too bad.’ So, what do I tell the moms and dads who are going to lose their jobs because they do not get a fair hearing?

“… If the backlog is ten years, what do [these companies] do?” he added. “Do they just pay it? Right now at a million appeals the best adjudication rate we’ve had is 79,000 a year. Even with your budget increase, that would still be a 10-year delay. That’s a taking in my book. Would you wait 10 years for your salary?”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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