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PROVIDER EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE[417]

Sec1889[42 U.S.C. 1395zz] (a) Coordination of Education Funding.—The Secretary shall coordinate the educational activities provided through medicare contractors (as defined in subsection (g), including under section 1893) in order to maximize the effectiveness of Federal education efforts for providers of services and suppliers.

(b) Enhanced Education and Training.—

(1) Additional resources.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary (in appropriate part from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years beginning with fiscal year 2005.

(2) Use.—The funds made available under paragraph (1) shall be used to increase the conduct by medicare contractors of education and training of providers of services and suppliers regarding billing, coding, and other appropriate items and may also be used to improve the accuracy, consistency, and timeliness of contractor responses.

(c) Tailoring Education and Training Activities for Small Providers or Suppliers.—

(1) In general.—Insofar as a medicare contractor conducts education and training activities, it shall tailor such activities to meet the special needs of small providers of services or suppliers (as defined in paragraph (2)). Such education and training activities for small providers of services and suppliers may include the provision of technical assistance (such as review of billing systems and internal controls to determine program compliance and to suggest more efficient and effective means of achieving such compliance).

(2) Small provider of services or supplier.—In this subsection, the term “small provider of services or supplier” means—

(A) a provider of services with fewer than 25 full-time-equivalent employees; or

(B) a supplier with fewer than 10 full-time-equivalent employees.

(d) Internet Websites; FAQs.—The Secretary, and each medicare contractor insofar as it provides services (including claims processing) for providers of services or suppliers, shall maintain an Internet website which—

(1) provides answers in an easily accessible format to frequently asked questions, and

(2) includes other published materials of the contractor, that relate to providers of services and suppliers under the programs under this title (and title XI insofar as it relates to such programs).

(e) Encouragement of Participation in Education Program Activities.—A medicare contractor may not use a record of attendance at (or failure to attend) educational activities or other information gathered during an educational program conducted under this section or otherwise by the Secretary to select or track providers of services or suppliers for the purpose of conducting any type of audit or prepayment review.

(f) Construction.—Nothing in this section or section 1893(g) shall be construed as providing for disclosure by a medicare contractor—

(1) of the screens used for identifying claims that will be subject to medical review; or

(2) of information that would compromise pending law enforcement activities or reveal findings of law enforcement-related audits.

(g) Definitions.—For purposes of this section, the term “medicare contractor” includes the following:

(1) A medicare administrative contractor with a contract under section 1874A, including a fiscal intermediary with a contract under section 1816 and a carrier with a contract under section 1842.

(2) An eligible entity with a contract under section 1893.

Such term does not include, with respect to activities of a specific provider of services or supplier an entity that has no authority under this title or title IX with respect to such activities and such provider of services or supplier.


[417]  See Vol. II, P.L. 108-173, §922, with respect to a small provider technical assistance demonstration program.