Can a plaintiff's lawyer get into the QUERY ACCESS system? If so, how? If not, how do we develop a system that will satisfy carriers and our client?
The CMS Query Access system is a tool developed by CMS for use by those entities that have registered as an RRE. CMS recognized the difficulties an RRE would have in truly determining who is a current Medicare beneficiary versus who is not a current Medicare beneficiary. Since the reporting obligation under the MMSEA only ripens when the injured individual is a current Medicare beneficiary at the time of settlement, judgment, payment or other award, the RRE needed a way to know when it must report settlements to Medicare. Unfortunately, plaintiff attorneys do not have access to the Query Access System unless they are somehow registered as an RRE. Instead, the way you can develop your system that will satisfy carriers and your clients is to have a standard operating procedure in place at your firm for every case, understanding that formal verification / resolution of Medicare conditional payments remains a plaintiff obligation. To do that, we recommend enhancing your case intake to capture essential information about your client’s government benefits as well as capturing the data points which the RRE will have to report. Capturing this information up front will allow you to start the process of verification / resolution early while simultaneously assisting the settling party responsible for payment to satisfy its reporting obligation by showing that party, at time of settlement, you already started this process. In so doing, you will be moving the case towards settlement as opposed to having these Medicare compliance issues chill the settlement negotiations.
Sylvius von Saucken