The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new pilot program that will hopefully alleviate the backlog of Medicare Part B claims that have been appealed to the Administrative Law Judge level. Settlement Conference Facilitation will be a pilot alternative dispute resolution process by which the appellant and CMS will be brought together to see if they can agree upon a settlement using a settlement conference facilitator.
The facilitator would use mediation principles in helping the two parties come to a settlement. The facilitator, an employee of the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, will not be a finder of fact and won’t make any determinations regarding the claimed issues, rather the facilitator’s purpose will be to help each side to see the strengths and weaknesses of their cases.
Settlement Conference Facilitation is only for appeals of Medicare Part B Qualified Independent Contractor decisions at this time. Beneficiary appeals of QIC decisions are not eligible in this pillow as those appeals are being prioritized for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
For more information on what appeals are eligible and how to go about requesting Settlement Conference Facilitation, go to: http://www.hhs.gov/omha/settlement_conference_facilitation_pilot.html