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SORN 09-70-0558

System Name:  National Claims History (NCH), HHS/CMS/OIS.

Security Classification:  Level Three Privacy Act Sensitive Data.

System Location(s):

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Data Center, 7500 Security Boulevard, North Building, First Floor, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850 and at various contractor sites and at CMS Regional Offices.

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System:  NCH contains billing and utilization information on Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospital insurance (Part A) or medical insurance (Part B) of the Medicare program.

Categories of Records in the System:  Information maintained in this system includes, but is not limited to Medicare billing and utilization data, name, health insurance claim number, ethnicity, gender, date of birth, state and county code, zip code, as well as the basis for the beneficiary's Medicare entitlement. The system also contains provider characteristics, assigned provider number (facility, referring/servicing physician), admission date, service dates, diagnosis and procedural codes, total charges, Medicare payment amount, and beneficiary's liability.

Authority for Maintenance of the System:  Authority for maintenance of the system is given under §§ 1874(a) and 1875 of the Social Security Act (the Act) and Title 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) section 1395kk(a) and 1395ll.

Purpose(s):  The primary purpose of this modified system is to collect and maintain billing and utilization data on Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospital insurance (Part A) or medical insurance (Part B) of the Medicare program for statistical and research purposes related to evaluating and studying the operation and effectiveness of the Medicare program. The information retrieved from this system of records will also be disclosed to: (1) Support regulatory, reimbursement, and policy functions performed within the agency or by a contractor, consultant, or grantee; (2) assist another Federal or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent; (3) support providers and suppliers of services for administration of Title XVIII; (4) assist third parties where the contact is expected to have information relating to the individual's capacity to manage his or her own affairs; (5) assist QIOs; (6) process individual insurance claims by other insurers; (7) facilitate research on the quality and effectiveness of care provided, as well as payment-related projects; (8) support litigation involving the agency; and (9) combat fraud, waste, and abuse in federally-funded health benefits programs.

Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories of Users and the Purposes of such Uses:


The Privacy Act allows us to disclose information without an individual's consent if the information is to be used for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose(s) for which the information was collected. Any such compatible use of data is known as a "routine use." The proposed routine uses in this system meet the compatibility requirement of the Privacy Act. We are proposing to establish the following routine use disclosures of information maintained in the system:

1. To support Agency contractors, consultants, or grantees who have been contracted by the Agency to assist in accomplishment of a CMS function relating to the purposes for this system and who need to have access to the records in order to assist CMS.

2. To assist another Federal and/or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent to:

a. Contribute to the accuracy of CMS' proper payment of Medicare benefits,

b. Enable such agency to administer a Federal health benefits program, or as necessary to enable such agency to fulfill a requirement of a Federal statute or regulation that implements a health benefits program funded in whole or in part with Federal funds, and/or

c. Assist Federal/state Medicaid programs within the state.

3. To support providers and suppliers of services directly or through fiscal intermediaries or carriers for the administration of Title XVIII of the Act.

4. To assist third party contact in situations where the party to be contacted has, or is expected to have information relating to the individual's capacity to manage his or her affairs or to his or her eligibility for, or an entitlement to, benefits under the Medicare program and;

a. The individual is unable to provide the information being sought (an individual is considered to be unable to provide certain types of information when any of the following conditions exists: the individual is confined to a mental institution, a court of competent jurisdiction has appointed a guardian to manage the affairs of that individual, a court of competent jurisdiction has declared the individual to be mentally incompetent, or the individual's attending physician has certified that the individual is not sufficiently mentally competent to manage his or her own affairs or to provide the information being sought, the individual cannot read or write, cannot afford the cost of obtaining the information, a language barrier exist, or the custodian of the information will not, as a matter of policy, provide it to the individual), or

b. The data are needed to establish the validity of evidence or to verify the accuracy of information presented by the individual, and it concerns one or more of the following: The individual's entitlement to benefits under the Medicare program, the amount of reimbursement, and in cases in which the evidence is being reviewed as a result of suspected fraud and abuse, program integrity, quality appraisal, or evaluation and measurement of activities.

5. To support Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO) in order to assist the QIO to perform Title XI and Title XVIII functions relating to assessing and improving quality of care.

6. To facilitate insurance companies, underwriters, third party administrators (TPA), employers, self-insurers, group health plans, health maintenance organizations (HMO), health and welfare benefit funds, managed care organizations, other supplemental insurers, non-coordinating insurers, multiple employer trusts, other groups providing protection against medical expenses of their enrollees without the beneficiary's authorization, and any entity having knowledge of the occurrence of any event affecting: (a) An individual's right to any such benefit or payment, or (b) the initial right to any such benefit or payment, for the purpose of coordination of benefits with the Medicare program and implementation of the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) provision at 42 U.S.C. 1395y (b). Information to be disclosed shall be limited to Medicare utilization data necessary to perform that specific function. In order to receive the information, they must agree to:

a. Certify that the individual about whom the information is being provided is one of its insured or employees, or is insured and/or employed by another entity for whom they serve as a TPA;

b. Utilize the information solely for the purpose of processing the individual's insurance claims; and

c. Safeguard the confidentiality of the data and prevent unauthorized access.

7. To assist an individual or organization for a research project or in support of an evaluation project related to the prevention of disease or disability, the restoration or maintenance of health, or payment related projects.

8. To support the Department of Justice (DOJ), court or adjudicatory body when:

a. The agency or any component thereof, or

b. Any employee of the agency in his or her official capacity, or

c. Any employee of the agency in his or her individual capacity where the DOJ has agreed to represent the employee, or

d. The United States Government is a party to litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and by careful review, CMS determines that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and that the use of such records by the DOJ, court or adjudicatory body is compatible with the purpose for which the agency collected the records.

9. To assist a CMS contractor (including, but not necessarily limited to, fiscal intermediaries and carriers) that assists in the administration of a CMS-administered health benefits program, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant program, when disclosure is deemed reasonably necessary by CMS to prevent, deter, discover, detect, investigate, examine, prosecute, sue with respect to, defend against, correct, remedy, or otherwise combat fraud, waste, or abuse in such program.

10. To assist another Federal agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States (including any State or local governmental agency), that administers, or that has the authority to investigate potential fraud, waste, or abuse in, a health benefits program funded in whole or in part by Federal funds, when disclosure is deemed reasonably necessary by CMS to prevent, deter, discover, detect, investigate, examine, prosecute, sue with respect to, defend against, correct, remedy, or otherwise combat fraud, waste, or abuse in such programs.

B. Additional Provisions Affecting Routine Use Disclosures.

To the extent this system contains Protected Health Information (PHI) as defined by HHS regulation "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information" (45 CFR parts 160 and 164, subparts A and E) 65 FR 82462 (12-28-00). Disclosures of such PHI that are otherwise authorized by these routine uses may only be made if, and as, permitted or required by the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information." (See 45 CFR 164-512(a)(1)).

In addition, our policy will be to prohibit release even of data not directly identifiable, except pursuant to one of the routine uses or if required by law, if we determine there is a possibility that an individual can be identified through implicit deduction based on small cell sizes (instances where the patient population is so small that individuals could, because of the small size, use this information to deduce the identity of the beneficiary).

11. To assist a public or private entity that is qualified (as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (the Secretary)) to use Medicare claims data to evaluate the performance of providers of services and suppliers on measures of quality, efficiency, effectiveness, and resource use; and who agrees to meet the requirements regarding the transparency of their methods and their use and protection of Medicare data as the Secretary may specify, if CMS:

a. Determines that the use or disclosure does not violate legal limitations under which the record was provided, collected, or obtained; and

b. Secures a written statement attesting to the information recipient's understanding of and willingness to abide by these provisions. Every Qualified Entity receiving data must have an agreement with CMS in the form of an Information Exchange Agreement or contract with all security and privacy requirements included. A Data Use Agreement (DUA) (CMS Form 0235) must be completed by the person receiving CMS data in accordance with current CMS policies.

This routine use fulfills the requirement in section 1174(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395kk (e)) to make standardized extracts of claims data under Medicare Parts A, B, and D available to a Qualified Entity (QE), recognized by the Secretary to make evaluations of provider/supplier performance in accordance with that section, and that agrees to meet specific requirements regarding the transparency of their methods and their use and protection of Medicare data. The IDR, National Claims History (NCH), CCDR, and Part D data will provide QEs, a broader, longitudinal, national perspective of the performance of Medicare providers/suppliers for use in authorized QE projects that could ultimately improve the care provided to Medicare beneficiaries and the policy that governs the care.

Policies and Practices for Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining, and Disposing of Records in the System—

Storage:  All records are stored on both magnetic storage media and in a DB2 relational database management environment (DASD data storage media).

Retrievability:  Information in this system is retrieved by HICN, provider number (facility, physician, supplier Ids), service dates, type of bill, Medicare status code, diagnosis, procedural codes, and beneficiary state code.

Safeguards:  CMS has safeguards in place for authorized users and monitors such users to ensure against unauthorized use. Personnel having access to the system have been trained in the Privacy Act and information security requirements. Employees who maintain records in this system are instructed not to release data until the intended recipient agrees to implement appropriate management, operational and technical safeguards sufficient to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information and information systems and to prevent unauthorized access.

This system will conform to all applicable Federal laws and regulations and Federal, HHS, and CMS policies and standards as they relate to information security and data privacy. These laws and regulations may apply but are not limited to: The Privacy Act of 1974; the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002; the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; the E-Government Act of 2002, the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996; the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, and the corresponding implementing regulations. OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Resources, Appendix III, Security of Federal Automated Information Resources also applies. Federal, HHS, and CMS policies and standards include but are not limited to: All pertinent National Institute of Standards and Technology publications; the HHS Information Systems Program Handbook and the CMS Information Security Handbook.

Retention and Disposal:  Records will be retained and disposed of in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration guidelines. Records are housed in both active and archival files. All claims-related records are encompassed by the document preservation order and will be retained until notification is received from DOJ.

System Manager(s) and Address(es):

Director, Division of Integrated Data Program Management, Enterprise Databases Group, Office of Information Services, CMS, Mail Stop N2-17-07, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.

Notification Procedure:  For purpose of notification, the subject individual should write to the system manager who will require the system name, and the retrieval selection criteria (e.g., HIC, facility ID, physician/supplier number, service dates, type of bill, etc.).

Record Access Procedures:  For purpose of access, use the same procedures outlined in Notification Procedures above. Requestors should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought. (These procedures are in accordance with Department regulation 45 CFR 5b.5(a)(2).)

Contesting Record Procedures:  The subject individual should contact the system manager named above, and reasonably identify the record and specify the information to be contested. State the corrective action sought and the reasons for the correction with supporting justification. (These procedures are in accordance with Department regulation 45 CFR 5b.7.)

Record Source Categories:  Fee-for-Service (FFS) billing and utilization information contained in this records system is obtained from the Common Working File.

System Exempted from Certain Provisions of the Act:  None.

Content created by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Division
Content last reviewed on December 28, 2017