CMS Begins Implementing Fingerprint-based Background Checks

On August 6, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began implementing a new fingerprint-based background check requirement for individuals with 5% or greater ownership interest in providers and suppliers that fall into a high-risk category and are either currently enrolled or have pending enrollment in Medicare. This screening process will be conducted in phases and not all entities in the high-risk screening category will be subject to the first phase.

Providers and suppliers with owners and/or individuals that qualify for fingerprint-based background checks will receive a letter from their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) and will have 30 days from the date of the letter to comply with the screening requirements. The letters will be mailed to providers or suppliers’ correspondence and special payment address on file with Medicare.

If a MAC receives an enrollment application in which fingerprint screening checks are missing, that application will not be processed until the MAC receives the results.  The effective date of enrollment will then be determined by the date the results were received by the MAC.

CMS has contracted with Accurate Biometrics to conduct the fingerprint-based background check. Accurate Biometrics works with the Federal Bureau of Investigations before returning the results to CMS. According to CMS, while most individuals will only have to be fingerprinted once, the agency can require additional screenings if they are deemed necessary.

If you have questions about the fingerprint requirement, enrollment or revalidation, risk screening levels, Medicare participation or revocation, or need other legal assistance, please contact our office.