Understanding ZPIC

by 
November 19th, 2014

The following chart identifies each of the 7 zones for ZPIC and the states/regions within each zone. Links are provided for each zone which contain information about each zone as well as activity and updates in those regions. 

ZPIC

Zone

States in Zone

Safeguard Services (SGS)

1

California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands

Health Integrity
(subcontractor to AdvanceMed)

2

Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Cahaba Safeguard Administrators

3

Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin

Health Integrity

4

Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

NCI AdvanceMed

5

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Under Protest
(being handled by Safeguard Services until resolution)

6

Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Safeguard Services (SGS)

7

Florida, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

 

Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPIC) was established under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and details of this Act required CMS to implement competitive measures for program integrity. ZPICs were established to detect, deter and to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare program. With this Act, ZPIC was further defined and assigned to seven program integrity zones and assigned to cover specific Medicare Administrative Contractor jurisdictions which are hired by CMS/Medicare to perform medical review, data analysis and extensive Medicare audits. 

ZPIC audits are among the most dangerous audits for practices today. In most cases, ZPIC audits are prompted by the results of data mining, complaints by employees, complaints by beneficiaries, request by Medicare contractor and other methods. In short, while it isn't always the case, in many cases where a ZPIC audit is in motion, it is because erroneous billing practices are highly suspected and "ammunition" has already been collected by the ZPIC auditor, triggering this degree of investigation.  

Note too, that ZPIC are paid on a performance basis, which means that the greater success they have in recoupment, the more they will benefit financially. Of course, for any other organization or individual whose earnings are determined by performance, the motivation to produce is generally quite high. 

ZPIC has the ability to impose severe sanctions in addition to the overpayment determined and has great authority with few limitations.

Some of the things that ZPIC is able to do includes:

In the event of a ZPIC audit, compliance and timeliness to requests is necessary and a qualified healthcare attorney can be quite helpful with the processes that occur with this type of audit.

Certainly, there are things that every practice can and should do in effort to prevent audits and record reviews and to minimize the penalties in the event an audit should occur. There are many preventative and protective steps that practices should take, including ensuring Medical Necessity, properly coding and submitting claims, using appropriate fees, fulfilling documentation requirements and knowing the qualifications to determine coverage for services being rendered. 

With questions or for additional assistance, please contact ChiroCode.

References:

Understanding ZPIC. (2014, November 19). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from https://www.findacode.com/articles/understanding-zpic-2278.html

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