The HHS Office of the Inspector General has just issued a notice that the OIG is considering whether to discontinue its publication of monthly supplements to the LEIE. They are soliciting public input about the impact of this change on LEIE users.
The LEIE (the List of Excluded Individuals/ Entities) is the primary database maintained by the OIG listing all individuals and organizations excluded from participation in all federally-funded healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. This list is updated monthly by the OIG. The expectation of the OIG is that federal health care contractors screen their employees and contractors against the LEIE on a routine basis to assure that any recent OIG action taken against a provider or organization is addressed timely by federal contractors.
Exclusion information is available to LEIE users in several forms. The full LEIE Database updated monthly is a complete inventory of all individuals or entities currently under exclusion and can include information that stretches over many years. This full database is updated monthly and available in a downloadable form as well as in a searchable online format. The Monthly Supplement files contain only the reinstatements for one month or the exclusions for one month, as indicated by the file name. These monthly supplemental files are maintained by the OIG for only 12 months.
As noted above, there are several monthly supplements: the exclusions imposed in the prior month and also a second list of those parties reinstated in the prior month. The Reinstatement supplement contains information not captured in either the full LEIE database or the monthly exclusion supplement. The LEIE databases contain no reinstatement information because file only lists currently excluded individuals and entities – no historical data. Therefore, once the exclusionary period expires, the individual/entity is removed from the LEIE. Reinstatement information is relevant by definition after the period of exclusion is complete and the excluded party has applied for and been granted reinstatement. Therefore, these monthly reinstatement files contain valuable information for potential employers to identify previously excluded parties when making hiring decisions. While employers can hire individuals or entities previously excluded, they may wish to better understand the prior actions of a potential hire that resulted in exclusion.
While the full downloadable and searchable databases are the most complete resources available to health care entities conducting monthly exclusion screenings, there may be smaller organizations that instead review the monthly supplemental files. Therefore, elimination of these smaller monthly files would necessitate a change in practices and potentially increase the amount of time required to meet their monthly screening obligations.
Organizations such as Streamline Verify which conducts comprehensive monthly screening of federal and state lists for their clients, rely on the complete LEIE updated monthly to assure that its reports reflect all newly added excluded parties. However, the LEIE Reinstatement supplement provides valuable information that is not otherwise available.
As members of the health care community reach out to the OIG to share their thoughts or concerns about this proposed change, they may wish to consider the impact of this reduced access to valuable information that could influence their hiring decisions.