The May 2019 deadline has just passed for Medicare providers to submit their Medicare cost report (MCR) to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This process may have left you with questions. Was your report comprehensive enough? What happens if we missed the deadline?
Medicare Cost Reports: Why and What
If you or your practice or company provides services to Medicare patients or receives reimbursements from Medicare, each year you must submit a Medicare cost report that includes financial and statistical data. The report provides detailed information about the provider, including reimbursement data, census information, utilization data, costs and charges by department, revenue, wages, expenses, and more. This data feeds the Healthcare Provider Cost Reporting Information System (HCRIS), and is used for future rate setting, to analyze profitability, to make policy decisions, and to determine future reimbursement rates.
Examples of companies that must submit these reports include hospitals, physicians and physician offices, hospice centers, long-term care facilities, freestanding health clinics and centers, and home health care agencies.
Related Blog: Understanding Medicare Cost Reports
Inefficiencies, Delayed Reporting and Penalties
Medicare cost reports are due five months after the end of your facility’s calendar year. For providers that use a calendar year for fiscal purposes, the deadline is always May 31st of any given year. It is crucial that your report is correct, complete, and submitted on time. If you do not submit an accurate and comprehensive report by the deadline, your facility is at risk of not receiving part or all of the available reimbursements, and the delay may impact future reimbursements. The continued financial health of your practice or facility is at stake.
MCRs are not like taxes. There is no “late filing” option except in cases of select and extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic event that has destroyed a facility. Overdue cost reports mean financial penalties – including interest – as well as the potential of suspended provider payments.
To streamline the process, many facilities now utilize the electronic submission option. However, if postmarked by the due date, mailed submissions are considered on time. Both methods have their own set of potential complications and last-minute challenges that could hamstring even the best efforts to complete and submit the report on time.
Cost Report Help When You Need It
HCRIS provides a checklist to aid in ensuring a complete submission, but if new information obtained or data is missed, healthcare providers will need to amend or open a reopen a previously submitted report. The requirements to allow you to reopen a report have become increasingly stringent, and requests can be denied, costing the facility due to mistakes or oversight in the original submission. Obtaining assistance with preparing the MCR up front can help avoid issues like this.
Goldin Peiser & Peiser works with a wide variety of healthcare providers and facilities. Have questions about protecting your medical practice? Contact the Medical Services Team by filling out the form below.
Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.