Payments to providers: Specific rules.
(a) Reimbursement on a reasonable cost basis.
Providers of services paid on the basis of the reasonable cost of services furnished to beneficiaries will receive interim payments approximating the actual costs of the provider. These payments will be made on the most expeditious schedule administratively feasible but not less often than monthly. A retroactive adjustment based on actual costs will be made at the end of a reporting period.
(b) Amount and frequency of payment.
Medicare states that providers of services will be paid the reasonable cost of services furnished to beneficiaries. Since actual costs of services cannot be determined until the end of the accounting period, the providers must be paid on an estimated cost basis during the year. While Medicare provides that interim payments will be made no less often than monthly, intermediaries are expected to make payments on the most expeditious basis administratively feasible. Whatever estimated cost basis is used for determining interim payments during the year, the intent is that the interim payments shall approximate actual costs as nearly as is practicable so that the retroactive adjustment based on actual costs will be as small as possible.
(c) Interim payments during initial reporting period.
At the beginning of the program or when a provider first participates in the program, it will be necessary to establish interim rates of payment to providers of services. Once a provider has filed a cost report under the Medicare program, the cost report may be used as a basis for determining the interim rate of reimbursement for the following period. However, since initially there is no previous history of cost under the program, the interim rate of payment must be determined by other methods, including the following:
If the intermediary is already paying the provider on a cost or cost-related basis, the intermediary will adjust its rate of payment to the program's principles of reimbursement. This rate may be either an amount per inpatient day, or a percent of the provider's charges for services furnished to the program's beneficiaries.
If an organization other than the intermediary is paying the provider for services on a cost or cost-related basis, the intermediary may obtain from that organization or from the provider itself the rate of payment being used and other cost information as may be needed to adjust that rate of payment to give recognition to the program's principles of reimbursement.
It no organization is paying the provider on a cost or cost-related basis, the intermediary will obtain the previous year's financial statement from the provider. By analysis of such statement in light of the principles of reimbursement, the intermediary will compute an appropriate rate of payment.
After the initial interim rate has been set, the provider may at any time request, and be allowed, an appropriate increase in the computed rate, upon presentation of satisfactory evidence to the intermediary that costs have increased. Likewise, the intermediary may adjust the interim rate of payment if it has evidence that actual costs may fall significantly below the computed rate.
(d) Interim payments for new providers.
Newly-established providers will not have cost experience on which to base a determination of an interim rate of payment. In such cases, the intermediary will use the following methods to determine an appropriate rate:
If there is a provider or providers comparable in substantially all relevant factors to the provider for which the rate is needed, the intermediary will base an interim rate of payment on the costs of the comparable provider.
If there are no substantially comparable providers from whom data are available, the intermediary will determine an interim rate of payment based on the budgeted or projected costs of the provider.
Under either method, the intermediary will review the provider's cost experience after a period of three months. If need for an adjustment is indicated, the interim rate of payment will be adjusted in line with the provider's cost experience.
(e) Interim payments after initial reporting period.
Interim rates of payment for services provided after the initial reporting period will be established on the basis of the cost report filed for the previous year covering Medicare services. The current rate will be determined—whether on a per diem or percentage of charges basis—using the previous year's costs of covered services and making any appropriate adjustments required to bring, as closely as possible, the current year's rate of interim payment into agreement with current year's costs. This interim rate of payment may be adjusted by the intermediary during an accounting period if the provider submits appropriate evidence that its actual costs are or will be significantly higher than the computed rate. Likewise, the intermediary may adjust the interim rate of payment if it has evidence that actual costs may fall significantly below the computed rate.
(f) Retroactive adjustment.
Medicare provides that providers of services will be paid amounts determined to be due, but not less often than monthly, with necessary adjustments due to previously made overpayments or underpayments. Interim payments are made on the basis of estimated costs. Actual costs reimbursable to a provider cannot be determined until the cost reports are filed and costs are verified. Therefore, a retroactive adjustment will be made at the end of the reporting period to bring the interim payments made to the provider during the period into agreement with the reimbursable amount payable to the provider for the services furnished to program beneficiaries during that period.
In order to reimburse the provider as quickly as possible, an initial retroactive adjustment will be made as soon as the cost report is received. For this purpose, the costs will be accepted as reported, unless there are obvious errors or inconsistencies, subject to later audit. When an audit is made and the final liability of the program is determined, a final adjustment will be made.
To determine the retroactive adjustment, the amount of the provider's total allowable cost apportioned to the program for the reporting year is computed. This is the total amount of reimbursement the provider is due to receive from the program and the beneficiaries for covered services furnished during the reporting period. The total of the interim payments made by the program in the reporting year and the deductibles and coinsurance amounts receivable from beneficiaries is computed. The difference between the reimbursement due and the payments made is the amount of the retroactive adjustment.
(g) Accelerated payments to providers.
Upon request, an accelerated payment may be made to a provider of services that is not receiving periodic interim payments under paragraph (h) of this section if the provider has experienced financial difficulties due to a delay by the intermediary in making payments or in exceptional situations, in which the provider has experienced a temporary delay in preparing and submitting bills to the intermediary beyond its normal billing cycle. Any such payment must be approved first by the intermediary and then by CMS. The amount of the payment is computed as a percentage of the net reimbursement for unbilled or unpaid covered services. Recovery of the accelerated payment may be made by recoupment as provider bills are processed or by direct payment.
(h) Periodic interim payment method of reimbursement—
(1) Covered services furnished before July 1, 1987.
In addition to the regular methods of interim payment on individual provider billings for covered services, the periodic interim payment (PIP) method is available for Part A hospital and SNF inpatient services.
(2) Covered services furnished on or after July 1, 1987.
Effective with claims received on or after July l, 1987, or as otherwise specified, the periodic interim payment (PIP) method is available for the following:
Part A inpatient services furnished in hospitals that are excluded from the prospective payment systems, as specified in § 412.1(a)(1) of this chapter under subpart B of part 412 of this subchapter, or are paid under the prospective payment systems described in subpart N, O, and P of part 412 of this chapter.
Part A services furnished in hospitals receiving payment in accordance with a demonstration project authorized under section 402(a) of Public Law 90-248 (42 U.S.C. 1395b-1) or section 222(a) of Public Law 92-603 (42 U.S.C. 1395b-1 (note)), or a State reimbursement control system approved under section 1886(c) of the Act and subpart C of part 403 of this chapter, if that type of payment is specifically approved by CMS as an integral part of the demonstration or control system. If that type of payment is not an integral part of the demonstration or control system, PIP is available for the hospital under paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section for hospitals excluded from the prospective payment systems or under § 412.116(b) of this chapter for prospective payment hospitals.
Part A SNF services furnished in cost reporting periods beginning before July 1, 1998. (For services furnished in subsequent cost reporting periods, see § 413.350 regarding periodic interim payments for skilled nursing facilities).
Part A services furnished in hospitals paid under the prospective payment system, including distinct part psychiatric or rehabilitation units, as described in § 412.116(b) of this chapter.
Services furnished in a hospice as specified in part 418 of this chapter. Payment on a PIP basis is described in § 418.307 of this chapter.
Effective for payments made on or after July 1, 2004, inpatient CAH services furnished by a CAH as specified in § 413.70. Payment on a PIP basis is described in § 413.70(d).
Any participating provider furnishing the services described in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this section that establishes to the satisfaction of the intermediary that it meets the following requirements may elect to be reimbursed under the PIP method, beginning with the first month after its request that the intermediary finds administratively feasible:
The provider's estimated total Medicare reimbursement for inpatient services is at least $25,000 a year computed under the PIP formula or, in the case of an HHA, either its estimated—
Total Medicare reimbursement for Part A and Part B services is at least $25,000 a year computed under the PIP formula; or
Medicare reimbursement computed under the PIP formula is at least 50 percent of estimated total allowable cost.
The provider has filed at least one completed Medicare cost report accepted by the intermediary as providing an accurate basis for computation of program payment (except in the case of a provider requesting reimbursement under the PIP method upon first entering the Medicare program).
The provider has the continuing capability of maintaining in its records the cost, charge, and statistical data needed to accurately complete a Medicare cost report on a timely basis.
The intermediary's approval of a provider's request for reimbursement under the PIP method will be conditioned upon the intermediary's best judgment as to whether payment can be made to the provider under the PIP method without undue risk of its resulting in an overpayment because of greatly varying or substantially declining Medicare utilization, inadequate billing practices, or other circumstances. The intermediary may terminate PIP reimbursement to a provider at any time it determines that the provider no longer meets the qualifying requirements or that the provider's experience under the PIP method shows that proper payment cannot be made under this method.
Payment will be made biweekly under the PIP method unless the provider requests a longer fixed interval (not to exceed one month) between payments. The payment amount will be computed by the intermediary to approximate, on the average, the cost of covered inpatient or home health services furnished by the provider during the period for which the payment is to be made, and each payment will be made two weeks after the end of such period of services. Upon request, the intermediary will, if feasible, compute the provider's payments to recognize significant seasonal variation in Medicare utilization of services on a quarterly basis starting with the beginning of the provider's reporting year.
A provider's PIP amount may be appropriately adjusted at any time if the provider presents or the intermediary otherwise obtains evidence relating to the provider's costs or Medicare utilization that warrants such adjustment. In addition, the intermediary will recompute the payment immediately upon completion of the desk review of a provider's cost report and also at regular intervals not less often than quarterly. The intermediary may make a retroactive lump sum interim payment to a provider, based upon an increase in its PIP amount, in order to bring past interim payments for the provider's current cost reporting period into line with the adjusted payment amount. The objective of intermediary monitoring of provider costs and utilization is to assure payments approximating, as closely as possible, the reimbursement to be determined at settlement for the cost reporting period. A significant factor in evaluating the amount of the payment in terms of the realization of the projected Medicare utilization of services is the timely submittal to the intermediary of completed admission and billing forms. All providers must complete billings in detail under this method as under regular interim payment procedures.
(i) Bankruptcy or insolvency of provider.
If on the basis of reliable evidence, the intermediary has a valid basis for believing that, with respect to a provider, proceedings have been or will shortly be instituted in a State or Federal court for purposes of determining whether such provider is insolvent or bankrupt under an appropriate State or Federal law, any payments to the provider will be adjusted by the intermediary, notwithstanding any other regulation or program instruction regarding the timing or manner of such adjustments, to a level necessary to insure that no overpayment to the provider is made.
(j) Interest payments resulting from judicial review—
If a provider of services seeks judicial review by a Federal court (see § 405.1877 of this chapter) of a decision furnished by the Provider Reimbursement Review Board or subsequent reversal, affirmation, or modification by the Secretary, the amount of any award of such Federal court will be increased by interest payable by the party against whom the judgment is made (see § 413.153 for treatment of interest). The interest begins to accrue on the first day of the first month following the 180-day period described in § 405.1835(a)(3)(i) or (a)(3)(ii) of this chapter, as applicable.
(2) Amount due.
Section 1878(f) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395oo(f), authorizes a court to award interest in favor of the prevailing party on any amount due as a result of the court's decision. If the intermediary withheld any portion of the amount in controversy prior to the date the provider seeks judicial review by a Federal court, and the Medicare program is the prevailing party, interest is payable by the provider only on the amount not withheld. Similarly, if the Medicare program seeks to recover amounts previously paid to a provider, and the provider is the prevailing party, interest on the amounts previously paid to a provider is not payable by the Medicare program since that amount had been paid and is not due the provider.
The amount of interest to be paid is equal to the rate of return on equity capital (see § 413.157) in effect for the month in which the civil action is commenced.
An intermediary made a final determination on the amount of Medicare program reimbursement on June 15, 1974, and the provider appealed that determination to the Provider Reimbursement Review Board. The Board heard the appeal and rendered a decision adverse to the provider. On October 28, 1974, the provider commenced civil action to have such decision reviewed. The rate of return on equity capital for the month of October 1974 was 11.625 percent. The period for which interest is computed begins on January 1, 1975, and the interest beginning January 1, 1975, would be at the rate of 11.625 percent per annum.
Code of Federal Regulations
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[51 FR 34793, Sept. 30, 1986, as amended at 51 FR 42238, Nov. 24, 1986; 53 FR 1628, Jan. 21, 1988; 57 FR 39830, Sept. 1, 1992; 59 FR 36713, July 19, 1994; 64 FR 41682, July 30, 1999; 65 FR 41211, July 3, 2000; 66 FR 41394, Aug. 7, 2001; 67 FR 56056, Aug. 30, 2002; 69 FR 49252, Aug. 11, 2004; 69 FR 66981, Nov. 15, 2004; 73 FR 30267, May 23, 2008]