Contracts for Medicaid recovery audit contractors (RACs) have been awarded to 26 states, government officials have announced.

Remaining states are either waiting for contracts to be awarded or have received an exception to RAC mandates, officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said during the American Health Lawyers Association’s Institute on Medicare and Medicaid Payment Issues in Baltimore last week.

One-quarter of the 26 states have contractors who have already begun the process of reviewing claims; the implementation deadline for Medicaid RACs was Jan. 1, 2012.

CMS said it also would begin collecting performance metrics for Medicaid RACs starting in the fall, the Bureau of National Affairs reported.

Contractors are tasked with identifying underpayments and overpayments within state Medicaid program and recovering the overpayments. In the first quarter of 2012 alone, Medicare RACs recovered $398 million in overpayments.

Visit CMS’ Medicaid RACs At-A-Glance website, or click here for tips on how the audit process will affect nursing homes.