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Capabilities / Hospice Medicare & Medicaid Audits

Hospice Medicare & Medicaid Audits

Analyzing and rebutting technical, clinical and statistical audit positions.

Our Hospice Audit team has led the way in the vigorous defense of hospices in payor audits for over a decade, with consistently successful outcomes. Whether the audit relates to Medicare, Medicaid or Medicare Advantage programs, the Hospice Audit team has the experience and skill to obtain the best result possible.

The Hospice Audit team has also developed a number of analytical tools, including charts, guides, tracking spreadsheets and tip-sheets for use by hospice personnel. These tools, together with our attorneys’ unrivaled experience in hospice audit, allows the Hospice Audit team to vigorously represent hospices in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Hospice Audits Overview

The Hospice Audit team’s expertise extends to every issue that arises in audits, including complex medical review, documentation requirements, and applicable legal and medical standards. 

  • Audit insights: The Hospice Audit team’s extensive work on audits of all kinds allows us to answer your questions regarding who is auditing, how they audit, typical audit results and how to preempt or appeal them, current trends in hospice audits, and how to develop a bespoke optimal strategy.
  • Hospice knowledge: The Hospice Audit team works with hundreds of hospices every year and knows how hospices work. The Hospice Audit team leverages its extensive experience with the business of hospices, complex medical conditions, the intricacies of necessary documentation, and the web of laws and regulations to “speak the same language” as hospice leadership, physicians, clinical staff, billing personnel and others to mount the strongest audit defense possible. 
  • Extrapolation audits: The Hospice Audit team also regularly represents hospices in the face of financially crippling “extrapolated” audits, in which the denial of a relatively modest number of claims is statistically extrapolated to result in millions or tens of millions of dollars in overpayments. The Hospice Audit team has eliminated over 90 percent of the extrapolated audits it has challenged, saving hospices nearly $200 million.
  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR): The Hospice Audit team is well-versed in assessing settlement opportunities that meet the hospice’s objectives. The Hospice Audit team has worked to achieve successful partial and full settlements and resolutions through the following: 
    • Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC) Telephone Demonstration Project
    • Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) Settlement Facilitation Conference (SCF)
    • Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) Extended Repayment Schedule (ERS) Process
    • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Division of Debt Resolution
    • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG)
    • Department of Justice (DOJ)
Medicare Audits 

The alphabet soup of Medicare audits has expanded over the years, and the Hospice Audit team has seen them all. Unified Program Integrity Contractor (UPIC), Supplemental Medical Review Contractor (SMRC), Center for Program Integrity (CPI), Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) and Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) medical reviews demand a thoughtful and forceful response from hospices. The Hospice Audit team has fought for hospices each step of the way, from the initial record request through the entire appeal process.

View our hospice Medicare strategies for success.
Medicaid Audits 

Medicaid audits involve a unique combination of federal and state authorities and processes. The Hospice Audit team has stood up to federal Medicaid auditors and fought for hospices across the country in a variety of distinct state venues, from the initial record request through the entire state appeal process.

See our hospice Medicaid advocacy in action.

Federal OIG Audits

Among the most daunting of audits are those performed by the federal DHHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), for two reasons:

  • First, the OIG’s standard practice is to extrapolate its audit results, regularly leading to alleged overpayment amounts of millions or tens of millions of dollars. 
  • Second, unlike other audits, the OIG publishes its audit results on its website, for the public to see. 

The Hospice Audit team represents hospices in OIG audits, applying its audit experience and guiding a public relations strategy designed to address the unique feature and risks relating to these audits.

Representative Experience

  • Represented hospice in appeal of a Medicare audit that resulted in an extrapolated overpayment of more than $12 million. Advocated for the hospice through the appeal process including a hearing before an administrative law judge. The extrapolation was thrown out and the ALJ returned a fully favorable ruling, resulting in a final overpayment amount of $0.00.
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Testimonials Lavonne Noel, Executive Director, Hospice of Dubuque

"Big thanks to Meg Pekarske and the Husch Blackwell team for their assistance with a recent matter. The team's expertise in, and passion for, hospice matters was evident from the start. They are a great legal team."

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Testimonials David Fielding, President and CEO, Trustbridge

"Our nonprofit mission-driven hospice operates in a very conscientious manner. Our Husch Blackwell hospice partners are attuned to that and often assist us in making affordable decisions that also meet our needs. We are confident in the attorneys who assist us and appreciate the team’s knowledge of our organization and operations. They anticipate our needs and convey strategies in a meaningful way. They are outstandingly knowledgeable!"

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Testimonials Viki Jingle, CEO, Community Healthcare of Texas

"We have a fantastic relationship with the very knowledgeable Husch Blackwell Hospice team. They understand healthcare and the specific issues of the hospice industry. Our trust is in the legal team’s expertise – we’ve learned a lot and see things from a different perspective working with their hospice attorneys."

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Testimonials Kathleen Benton, President and CEO, Hospice Savannah

"The Husch Blackwell Hospice team provided helpful and clear leadership and guidance through a Medicare audit appeal. The result was better than I could have expected. The Hospice team believes that the work hospices perform truly matters, and I can't thank them enough for the excellent work they did."

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Testimonials Mary Kay Tyler, Vice President of Quality, Hospice of the Western Reserve

"The Hospice team is extremely responsive to our needs and we feel very confident in Husch Blackwell’s ability to serve our legal needs. Our transition to the firm has been a positive experience."

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Testimonials Donna Morgan, President and CEO, Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama

"The Husch Blackwell Hospice team is very attentive. Their invaluable healthcare experience allows them to quickly address issues and concerns. There are never billing surprises. The team clearly communicates verbally and in writing regarding cost for services, and invoices are clearly defined."

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Testimonials Kimberly Hobson, President and CEO, JourneyCare

"Husch Blackwell’s hospice industry knowledge and comprehensive service offerings made the transition from another firm easy. The Hospice team has been able to successfully use internal resources to help when needed and are quick to respond when regulatory requests come up. Project management is stellar – it has been an awesome experience working with Husch Blackwell!"

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Testimonials Barb Hansen, Chief Executive Officer, Oregon Hospice & Palliative Care Association

"Meg Pekarske is “the best and brightest” and I think very highly of Husch Blackwell and her colleagues, too. I always learn a lot from the webinars and podcasts Husch Blackwell provides. It’s a great service to the hospice industry."

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Testimonials Christy Whitney, President and CEO, HopeWest

“The Husch Blackwell Hospice & Palliative Care team was a great partner in the audit appeal process. They were invested in the hospice’s success and demonstrated an ongoing commitment to collaboration, attention to detail, and advocacy. Not only did they keep us informed at every step of the process, they also solicited our input and incorporated our ideas wherever possible. Together, we were able to obtain a fair, favorable result, and the hospice can continue to provide quality end-of-life care to deserving patients.”

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