Office of Civil Rights clearance procedure change

CMS released a new S&C letter for all providers outlining revisions to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) clearance practice for new providers, as well as for Changes of Ownership (CHOW). The conditions of participation for Medicare require providers to establish and maintain compliance with civil rights requirements. The SA provides the OCR Certification Information Request Packet to new applications who are looking to become certified as well as providers who are undergoing a CHOW.

The packets are supposed to be returned to the SA who in turns sends them to the RO. The RO sends the relevant forms to the OCR to review and provide clearance within 20 calendar days of submission. If OCR clearance is not given within this window, the RO may issue a restricted provider agreement with a contingency clause. The memo states that the majority of compliance determinations are received past the 20-day mark, which creates risk for the provider and increased work for the SA/RO.

In order to alleviate some of the risk and additional work, CMS collaborated with OCR to create an updated process requiring providers to submit an electronic attestation of compliance with OCR civil rights requirements before an initial survey taking place or a CHOW being processed. Verification of successful submissions of attestations will be forwarded to the RO by the OCR. The RO will review the attestation data provided by the OCR and, if the RO finds the information provided acceptable, the RO will issue a provider agreement without provisional status.

Learn more about the OCR Clearance Procedure for new providers and those undergoing a CHOW, including the electronic submission process by reading September 2, 2016 CMS S&C memo “Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Clearance” (Ref: S&C: 16-37-ALL) for more information.

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