Actions taken by two contractors that unsuccessfully bid to be part of Medicares permanent Recovery Audit Contractor program have led to a suspension in RAC activities, the CMS reported.
The agency received notice from the Government Accountability Office that Viant, Naperville, Ill., and PRG-Schultz International, Atlanta, had protested the awards given to contractors in the permanent RAC program, which began Oct. 6. GAO has 100 days to issue a decision on the protests, according to CMS spokesman Peter Ashkenaz. In the meantime, activities surrounding the four permanent RAC contracts have been suspended pending the outcome of the two protests, under provisions required by the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, he said.
Officials for PRG-Schultz, one of the most controversial RAC auditors in the programs demonstration project, were unavailable for comment at deadline. The auditor was the designated RAC for California during the demonstration and had a reputation for denying a large portion of the Medicare inpatient rehabilitation claims it reviewed in the state. A Viant spokesman acknowledged that the company had unsuccessfully bid on the permanent RAC program but would not comment further.
At deadline, the industry was awaiting more news from the CMS on the long-term implications of this protest action. The American Hospital Association has more questions than answers on how this procedural measure by the GAO will work, said Don May, AHAs vice president for policy. One thing is certain: The program is going to experience further delays, May said. -- by Jennifer Lubell