With expansion of the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program, hospitals in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions are expected to receive records requests from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in early 2009.
To assist clients with these burdensome and potentially costly audits, Faegre & Benson has added Steve Lokensgard, former Allina vice president of compliance and regulatory affairs, to its health care and nonprofit organization practice.
"Steve's previous focus on RAC audits will enable us to better help hospitals and health systems prepare appeals, manage litigation and develop corrective action plans," says Jay D. Christiansen, a partner in the Faegre & Benson health law practice. "His strong background in other areas of health care law, including fraud and abuse enforcement, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and health care transactions will also be a tremendous asset to our health care clients."
In his role with Allina, Lokensgard was responsible for drafting compliance, privacy and security policies for 11 hospitals, 70 clinics and multiple specialty operations. He has been involved for more than a year in planning for RAC audits and implementing processes to review Medicare admissions and observation cases for medical necessity.
RAC audits pose a significant financial risk to providers—and particularly hospitals.
Over a three year period, the RAC program has led to collection of $980 million in prior overpayments in five states. Approximately 89 percent of the overpayments came from hospitals.
Faegre & Benson represents for-profit and nonprofit entities in the health care industry. As policy reforms and consolidation reshape the nation's health care system, the firm's lawyers advise clients on the business and legal issues raised by these changes.