Physicians and other health care providers shouldn’t take an audit letter lightly. Health care providers should inform their staff about the possibility of government audits and should develop a plan for receiving and responding to these requests.
An important part of preparation is to identify key staff members who would be likely to receive an audit letter. Many times, the audit letter will be sent in the mail or may be hand delivered. As a result, billing representatives and receptionists should be made aware of this possibility and should be trained to notify the practice managers immediately when such a request is received.
A response is mandatory and must be filed within a certain period of time. The period of time to respond varies depending on which government entity is requesting the information and for what purpose. A timely response to a government audit letter is vital, but the response should not be rushed and should be prepared by a qualified health care attorney.
Health care providers should consider what is being requested and why the information is being requested. Sometimes, this may be difficult to determine. Physicians and health care providers should be aware of the risks of exposure in releasing incorrect or damaging information to government agencies.