May 17, 2023
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the expansion of its Amended Review policy to significantly more MSAs in the latest update to its WCMSA Reference Guide, Version 3.9. The Amended Review process was previously limited to MSAs approved within the last 12 to 60 months.
The 60-month limitation is now gone, opening the door to a second bite at the apple for any MSA approved over 12 months prior.
Does Your MSA Qualify?
CMS provides the following criteria for an Amended Review:
Where the following criteria are met, CMS will permit a one-time request for re-review in the form of a submission of a new cover letter, all medical documentation related to the settling injury(s)/body part(s) since the previous submission date, the most recent six months of pharmacy records, a consent to release information, and a summary of expected future care.
- CMS has issued a conditional approval/approved amount at least 12 months prior.
- The case has not yet been settled as of the date of the request for re-review.
- Projected care has changed so much that the submitter’s new proposed amount would result in a 10% or $10,000 change (whichever is greater) in CMS’ previously approved amount.
A claim that meets these criteria qualifies for an Amended Review.
Other Notable Updates
The CMS Regional Offices no longer approve the MSA before its release to the submitter. For a brief history, when CMS introduced the MSA review process in 2001 the regional offices reviewed the MSA submissions. CMS replaced their review responsibility in 2005 by introducing a centralized review contractor, the Workers Compensation Review Contractor (WCRC). Since then, the regional offices approved the MSA recommendation made by the WCRC.
While no longer putting their stamp of approval on the MSA, the regional offices are still responsible for the receipt and review of final settlement documents to confirm the proper funding of the MSA.
Also, as part of the update, CMS clarified pricing methodology around intrathecal pumps, spinal cord stimulators, and peripheral nerve stimulator replacement frequency.
The big news is the availability of Amended Review MSAs for any prior approval which otherwise meets the above-defined criteria. We recommend that payers review their files to identify open medical claims which may now be eligible for an Amended Review. Tower stands ready to assist you with such a review and identify claims that can now be settled. Please contact us for further consultation.