CMS has revised its RAC expansion schedule, according to the new "RAC Phase In Map" posted February 10 to the CMS Web site. The first phase is set to begin March 1, 2009. The second stage will begin August 1, according to the map.
The prior expansion schedule was set to occur in three stages, however, the now-resolved protests by the unsuccessful contract bidders Viant, Inc., and PRG Schultz, USA, Inc. delayed the initial onset of the permanent RAC program.
"For those hospitals who have a couple of weeks to prepare, I believe one of the biggest challenges is to have well established coordination of denials and appeals and an effective tracking tool," says Yvonne Focke, RN, BSN, MBA, revenue cycle director at St. Elizabeth and St. Luke Hospitals in Covington, KY. "For those of us who have until August, we?ll have to continue on course with our RAC preparedness, including assessing our gaps, quantifying our risk and establishing a tracking mechanism."