Providers criticize CMS for ambiguity in staff training on whistleblowers

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More than 800 Medicaid providers have voiced their disapproval of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' interpretation of a Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 provision that requires them to educate all employees, contractors and agents on the federal False Claims Act.

Beginning Jan. 1, healthcare providers who receive Medicaid payments totaling $5 million or more per year have been required to provide information to their staff on the federal False Claims Act and its whistleblower protections, according to the CMS guidance. Many nursing home operators fit into that category.

The guidance was insufficient, many providers claimed in a phone briefing with CMS's Medicaid Program Integrity Group Acting Director Robb Miller recently. While Miller defended the agency's interpretation of the law and the guidance, he also added that his group was still reviewing certain aspects of the provision and would provide additional guidance to states and providers at a later date.