Skip to Content

Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; Report of a Modified or Altered System of Records

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

ACTION:

Notice of a Modified or Altered System of Records (SOR).

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, we are proposing to modify or alter existing system of records titled, “Enrollment Data Base (EDB), System No. 09-70-0502, last modified 67 Federal Register 3203 (January 23, 2002). The EDB currently maintains enrollment-related data, data elements pertaining to Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP), and data regarding Direct billing and Third Part premium collection information for Medicare premiums. We are amending the purpose of the EDB to include maintaining enrollment and entitlement data currently maintained in the following CMS systems of records: Medicare Beneficiary Database (MBD), System No. 09-70-0536; and the Medicare Prescription Drug System (MARx), System No. 09-70-4001.

We are modifying the language in published routine use number 1 to permit disclosures to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant program that perform a task for the agency. CMS occasionally contracts out certain of its functions when doing so would contribute to effective and efficient operations. CMS must be able to give a contractor, consultant or grantee whatever information is necessary for the contractor, consultant, or grantee to fulfill its duties. We will modify existing routine use number 5 that permits disclosure to Peer Review Organizations (PRO). Organizations previously referred to as PROs will be renamed to read: Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO). Information will be disclosed to QIOs for health care quality improvement projects. The modified routine use will be renumbered as routine use number 5. We will delete published routine use number 8 authorizing disclosure to support constituent requests made to a congressional representative. If an authorization for the disclosure has been obtained from the data subject, then no routine use is needed. The Privacy Act allows for disclosures with the “prior written consent” of the data subject. Start Printed Page 10250

We are modifying the language in the remaining disclosure provisions to provide a proper explanation as to the need for the disclosure and to provide clarity to CMS's intention to disclose individual-specific information contained in this system. We will also take the opportunity to update any sections of the system that were affected by the recent reorganization or because of the impact of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) (Pub. L. 108-173) provisions and to update language in the administrative sections to correspond with language used in other CMS system notices.

The primary purpose of the SOR is to maintain information on Medicare enrollment for the administration of the Medicare program, including the following functions: Ensuring proper Medicare enrollment, claims payment, Direct billing and Third Party premium collection information, coordination of benefits by validating and verifying the enrollment status of beneficiaries, and validating and studying the characteristics of persons enrolled in the Medicare program including their requirements for information. Information retrieved from this SOR will also be disclosed to: (1) Support regulatory, reimbursement, and policy functions performed within the Agency or by agency contractors, consultants, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant; (2) assist another Federal or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent; (3) assist third parties where the contact is expected to have information relating to the individual's capacity to manage his or her own affairs; (4) assist providers and suppliers of services for administration of Title XVIII of the Act; (5) support Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO); (6) assist other insurers for processing individual insurance claims; (7) facilitate research on the quality and effectiveness of care provided, as well as payment-related and epidemiological projects; (8) support litigation involving the Agency; and (9) combat fraud and abuse in certain health benefits programs. We have provided background information about the new system in the “Supplementary Information” section below. Although the Privacy Act requires only that CMS provide an opportunity for interested persons to comment on the proposed routine uses, CMS invites comments on all portions of this notice. See “Effective Dates” section for comment period.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

CMS filed a new SOR report with the Chair of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, and the Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on February 12, 2008. To ensure that all parties have adequate time in which to comment, the new system will become effective 30 days from the publication of the notice, or 40 days from the date it was submitted to OMB and the Congress, whichever is later. We may defer implementation of this system or one or more of the routine use statements listed below if we receive comments that persuade us to defer implementation.

ADDRESSES:

The public should address comments to: CMS Privacy Officer, Division of Privacy Compliance, Enterprise Architecture and Strategy Group, Office of Information Services, CMS, Room N2-04-27, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850. The telephone number is (410) 786-5357. Comments received will be available for review at this location, by appointment, during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern Time zone.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kathryn Cox, Health Insurance Specialist, Division of Enrollment and Eligibility Policy, Medicare Enrollment and Appeals Group, Centers for Beneficiary Choices, Mail Stop C2-12-16, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1849. She can be reached by telephone at 410-786-5954 or e-mail Kathryn.Cox@cms.hhs.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The EDB is the authoritative source of information for anyone who has ever been entitled to receive Medicare. Both personal and financial information is stored on the system. The EDB is CMS's single resource of managing Medicare entitlement data. CMS's major operation functions and goals are directly supported by the EDB including Medicare entitlement and premium billing (both direct beneficiary and third-party billing). The system contains personally identifiable information in the form of names, entitlement, health insurance number etc. Numerous CMS critical systems are directly supported by EDB. The Direct Billing System (DB) was integrated into the EDB in 1996. This system deals with all EDB beneficiaries who are (or were) billed directly for their Medicare premiums. The EDB maintains a history of all direct-billing information and payments. In addition, Medicare claim payments and managed-care enrollment are supported indirectly by the EDB.

The EDB includes the following types of information for each Medicare enrollee: Beneficiary identification (e.g., name, birth date, address, date of death); Part A and Part B enrollment (current and historical); Medicare card issuance; Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP); Third-party payer; Medicare Advantage enrollment; Common Working File (CWF) host site; Hospice information; Cross-reference numbers; Direct billing; Disability data; and ESRD data.

I. Description of the Proposed System of Records

A. Statutory and Regulatory Basis for SOR

Authority for maintenance of the system is given under sections 226, 226A, 1811, 1818, 1818A, 1831, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1843, 1876, and 1881 of the Social Security Act (the Act) and Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 406, 407, 408, 411 and 424. Authority for maintenance of the system section 1862 of the Act was a published authority in the published SOR. We included section 1862 in the modified SOR since we do maintain a limited number of data elements in the EDB pertaining to MSP. Authority for maintenance of the system section 1870 of the Act was included in the modified system since the EDB does maintain data regarding direct billing for Medicare premiums. Section 1870(g) describes refunding these premiums.

B. Collection and Maintenance of Data in the System

The system contains information related to Medicare enrollment and entitlement and MSP data containing other party liability insurance information necessary for appropriate Medicare claim payment. It contains hospice election, Direct billing and Third Party Premium collection information, and group health plan enrollment data. The system also contains the individual's health insurance numbers, name, geographic location, race/ethnicity, sex, and date of birth. Information is collected on individuals age 65 or over who have been, or currently are, entitled to health insurance (Medicare) benefits under Title XVIII of the Act or under provisions of the Railroad Retirement Act, individuals under age 65 who have been, or currently are, entitled to such benefits on the basis of having been entitled for not less than 24 months to disability benefits under Title II of the Act or under the Railroad Retirement Act, individuals who have been, or Start Printed Page 10251currently are, entitled to such benefits because they have ESRD, individuals age 64 and 8 months or over who are likely to become entitled to health insurance (Medicare) benefits upon attaining age 65, and individuals under age 65 who have at least 21 months of disability benefits who are likely to become entitled to Medicare upon the 25th month of their being disabled.

II. Agency Policies, Procedures, and Restrictions on Routine Uses

A. The Privacy Act permits 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 disclosure of data is known as a “routine use.” The Government will only release EDB information that can be associated with an individual as provided for under “Section III. Proposed Routine Use Disclosures of Data in the System.” Both identifiable and non-identifiable data may be disclosed under a routine use. We will only collect the minimum personal data necessary to achieve the purpose of EDB.

CMS has the following policies and procedures concerning disclosures of information that will be maintained in the system. Disclosure of information from the system will be approved only to the extent necessary to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure and only after CMS:

1. Determines that the use or disclosure is consistent with the reason that the data is being collected; e.g., to collect and maintain a person-level view of identifiable data to establish a data warehouse to study chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries.

2. Determines that:

a. The purpose for which the disclosure is to be made can only be accomplished if the record is provided in individually identifiable form;

b. The purpose for which the disclosure is to be made is of sufficient importance to warrant the effect and/or risk on the privacy of the individual that additional exposure of the record might bring; and

c. There is a strong probability that the proposed use of the data would in fact accomplish the stated purpose(s).

3. Requires the information recipient to:

a. Establish administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to prevent unauthorized use of disclosure of the record;

b. Remove or destroy, at the earliest time, all patient-identifiable information; and

c. Agree to not use or disclose the information for any purpose other than the stated purpose under which the information was disclosed.

4. Determines that the data are valid and reliable.

III. Proposed Routine Use Disclosures of Data in the System

A. 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, or consultants, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant program who have been engaged by the agency to assist in the 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.

We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which CMS may enter into a contractual or similar agreement with a third party to assist in accomplishing CMS function relating to purposes for this system.

CMS occasionally contracts out certain of its functions when doing so would contribute to effective and efficient operations. CMS must be able to give a contractor, consultant or grantee whatever information is necessary for the contractor or consultant to fulfill its duties. In these situations, safeguards are provided in the contract prohibiting the contractor, consultant or grantee from using or disclosing the information for any purpose other than that described in the contract and requires the contractor, consultant or grantee to return or destroy all information at the completion of the contract.

2. To assist another Federal 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's 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.

Other Federal or state agencies, in their administration of a Federal health program, may require EDB information in order to support evaluations and monitoring of Medicare claims information of beneficiaries, including proper reimbursement for services provided.

3. To assist third party contacts (without the consent of the individuals to whom the information pertains) 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; and the amount of reimbursement; any case in which the evidence is being reviewed as a result of suspected fraud and abuse, program integrity, quality appraisal, or evaluation and measurement of program activities.

Third parties contacts require EDB information in order to provide support for the individual's entitlement to benefits under the Medicare program; to establish the validity of evidence or to verify the accuracy of information presented by the individual or the representative of the applicant, and assist in the monitoring of Medicare claims information of beneficiaries, including proper reimbursement of services provided.

Senior citizen volunteers working in the carriers and intermediaries' offices to assist Medicare beneficiaries' request Start Printed Page 10252for assistance may require access to EDB information.

Occasionally fiscal intermediary/carrier banks, automated clearing houses, value added networks (VAN), and provider banks, to the extent necessary transfer to provider's electronic remittance advice of Medicare payments, and with respect to provider banks, to the extent necessary to provide account management services to providers using this information.

4. To assist providers and suppliers of services dealing through fiscal intermediaries or carriers for the administration of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.

Providers and suppliers of services require EDB information in order to establish the validity of evidence, or to verify the accuracy of information presented by the individual as it concerns the individual's entitlement to benefits under the Medicare program, including proper reimbursement for services provided.

Providers and suppliers of services who are attempting to validate items on which the amounts included in the annual Physician/Supplier Payment List, or other similar publications are based.

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 HHA quality of care.

QIOs will work with HHAs to implement quality improvement programs, provide consultation to CMS, its contractors, and to state agencies. The QIOs will provide a supportive role to HHAs in their endeavors to comply with Medicare Conditions of Participation; will assist the state agencies in related monitoring and enforcement efforts; assist CMS and help regional home health intermediaries in home health program integrity assessment; and prepare summary information about the nation's home health care for release to beneficiaries.

6. To assist insurance companies, third party administrators (TPA), employers, self-insurers, managed care organizations, other supplemental insurers, non-coordinating insurers, multiple employer trusts, group health plans (i.e., health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or a competitive medical plan (CMP) with a Medicare contract, or a Medicare-approved health care prepayment plan (HCPP)), directly or through a contractor, and other groups providing protection for their enrollees. Information to be disclosed shall be limited to Medicare entitlement data. 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 identified individual's insurance claims; and

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

Other insurers, TPAs, HMOs, and HCPPs may require EDB information in order to support evaluations and monitoring of Medicare claims information of beneficiaries, including proper reimbursement for services provided.

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

EDB data will provide for research, evaluation, and epidemiological projects, a broader, longitudinal, national perspective of the status of Medicare beneficiaries. CMS anticipates that many researchers will have legitimate requests to use these data in projects that could ultimately improve the care provided to Medicare beneficiaries and the policy that governs the care.

8. To assist 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.

Whenever CMS is involved in litigation, or occasionally when another party is involved in litigation and CMS's policies or operations could be affected by the outcome of the litigation, CMS would be able to disclose information to the DOJ, court, or adjudicatory body involved.

9. To assist a CMS contractor (including, but not limited to FIs 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 or abuse in such programs.

We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which CMS may enter into a contract or grant with a third party to assist in accomplishing CMS functions relating to the purpose of combating fraud and abuse.

CMS occasionally contracts out certain of its functions when doing so would contribute to effective and efficient operations. CMS must be able to give a contractor or grantee whatever information is necessary for the contractor or grantee to fulfill its duties. In these situations, safeguards are provided in the contract prohibiting the contractor or grantee from using or disclosing the information for any purpose other than that described in the contract and requiring the contractor or grantee to return or destroy all information.

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 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 or abuse in such programs.

Other agencies may require EDB information for the purpose of combating fraud and abuse in such Federally funded 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 Fed. Reg. 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.”

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, Start Printed Page 10253if 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 who are familiar with the enrollees could, because of the small size, use this information to deduce the identity of the beneficiary).

IV. Safeguards

CMS has safeguards in place for authorized users and monitors of such users to ensure against excessive or 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.

V. Effects of the Modified System of Records on Individual Rights

CMS proposes to establish this system in accordance with the principles and requirements of the Privacy Act and will collect, use, and disseminate information only as prescribed therein. Data in this system will be subject to the authorized releases in accordance with the routine uses identified in this system of records.

CMS will take precautionary measures to minimize the risks of unauthorized access to the records and the potential harm to individual privacy or other personal or property rights of patients whose data are maintained in this system. CMS will collect only that information necessary to perform the system's functions. In addition, CMS will make disclosure from the proposed system only with consent of the subject individual, or his/her legal representative, or in accordance with an applicable exception provision of the Privacy Act. CMS, therefore, does not anticipate an unfavorable effect on individual privacy as a result of information relating to individuals.

Start Signature

Dated: February 13, 2008.

Charlene Frizzera,

Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

End Signature

SYSTEM NUMBER: 09-70-0502

SYSTEM NAME:

Enrollment Database (EDB), HHS/CMS/CBC.

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

Level Three Privacy Act Sensitive Data.

SYSTEM LOCATION:

CMS Data Center, 7500 Security Boulevard, North Building, First Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850, and at various other remote locations.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

Information is collected on individuals age 65 or over who have been, or currently are, entitled to health insurance (Medicare) benefits under Title XVIII of the Act or under provisions of the Railroad Retirement Act, individuals under age 65 who have been, or currently are, entitled to such benefits on the basis of having been entitled for not less than 24 months to disability benefits under Title II of the Act or under the Railroad Retirement Act, individuals who have been, or currently are, entitled to such benefits because they have ESRD, individuals age 64 and 8 months or over who are likely to become entitled to health insurance (Medicare) benefits upon attaining age 65, and individuals under age 65 who have at least 21 months of disability benefits who are likely to become entitled to Medicare upon the 25th month of their being disabled.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

The system contains information related to Medicare enrollment and entitlement and Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) data containing other party liability insurance information necessary for appropriate Medicare claim payment. It contains hospice election, Direct billing and Third Party Premium collection information, and group health plan enrollment data. The system also contains the individual's health insurance numbers, name, geographic location, race/ethnicity, sex, and date of birth.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

Authority for maintenance of the system is given under sections 226, 226A, 1811, 1818, 1818A, 1831, 1836, 1837, 1838, 1843, 1876, and 1881 of the Social Security Act (the Act) and Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 406, 407, 408, 411 and 424. Authority for maintenance of the system section 1862 of the Act was a published authority in the published SOR. We included section 1862 in the modified SOR since we do maintain a limited number of data elements in the EDB pertaining to MSP. Authority for maintenance of the system section 1870 of the Act was included in the modified system since the EDB does maintain data regarding direct billing for Medicare premiums. Section 1870 (g) describes refunding these premiums.

PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM:

The primary purpose of the SOR is to maintain information on Medicare enrollment for the administration of the Medicare program, including the following functions: ensuring proper Medicare enrollment, claims payment, Direct billing and Third Party premium collection information, coordination of benefits by validating and verifying the enrollment status of beneficiaries, and validating and studying the characteristics of persons enrolled in the Medicare program including their requirements for information. Information retrieved from this SOR will also be disclosed to: (1) Support regulatory, reimbursement, and policy functions performed within the Agency or by agency contractors, consultants, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant; (2) assist another Federal or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent; (3) assist third parties where the contact is expected to have information relating to the individual's capacity to manage his or her own affairs; (4) assist providers and suppliers of services for administration of Title XVIII of the Act; (5) support Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO); (6) assist other insurers for processing individual insurance claims; (7) facilitate research on the quality and effectiveness of care provided, as well as payment-related and epidemiological projects; (8) support litigation involving the Agency; and (9) combat fraud and Start Printed Page 10254abuse in certain health benefits programs.

ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OR USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

A. 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, or consultants, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant program who have been engaged by the agency to assist in the 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 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's 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 assist third party contacts (without the consent of the individuals to whom the information pertains) 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; and the amount of reimbursement; any case in which the evidence is being reviewed as a result of suspected fraud and abuse, program integrity, quality appraisal, or evaluation and measurement of program activities.

4. To assist providers and suppliers of services dealing through fiscal intermediaries or carriers for the administration of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.

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 HHA quality of care.

6. To assist insurance companies, third party administrators (TPA), employers, self-insurers, managed care organizations, other supplemental insurers, non-coordinating insurers, multiple employer trusts, group health plans (i.e., health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or a competitive medical plan (CMP) with a Medicare contract, or a Medicare-approved health care prepayment plan (HCPP)), directly or through a contractor, and other groups providing protection for their enrollees. Information to be disclosed shall be limited to Medicare entitlement data. 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 identified individual's insurance claims; and

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

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

8. To assist 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 limited to FIs 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 or abuse in such programs.

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 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 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 Fed. Reg. 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.”

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 who are familiar with the enrollees could, because of the small Start Printed Page 10255size, use this information to deduce the identity of the beneficiary).

POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

STORAGE:

All records are stored on magnetic media.

RETRIEVABILITY:

All Medicare records are accessible by HIC number or alpha (name) search. This system supports both on-line and batch access.

SAFEGUARDS:

CMS has safeguards for authorized users and monitors such users to ensure against excessive or unauthorized use. Personnel having access to the system have been trained in the Privacy Act and systems security requirements. Employees who maintain records in the system are instructed not to release any data until the intended recipient agrees to implement appropriate administrative, technical, procedural, and physical safeguards sufficient to protect the confidentiality of the data and to prevent unauthorized access to the data.

In addition, CMS has physical safeguards in place to reduce the exposure of computer equipment and thus achieve an optimum level of protection and security for the EDB system. For computerized records, safeguards have been established in accordance with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) standards and National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines, e.g., security codes will be used, limiting access to authorized personnel. System securities are established in accordance with HHS, Information Resource Management (IRM) Circular #10, Automated Information Systems Security Program; CMS Automated Information Systems (AIS) Guide, Systems Securities Policies, and OMB Circular No. A-130 (revised), Appendix III.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

Records are maintained for a period of 15 years. All claims-related records are encompassed by the document preservation order and will be retained until notification is received from DOJ.

SYSTEM MANAGER AND ADDRESS:

Director, Division of Enrollment & Eligibility Policy, Medicare Enrollment and Appeals Group, Centers for Beneficiary Choices, Mail Stop C2-09-17, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1849.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

For purpose of access, the subject individual should write to the system manager who will require the system name, health insurance claim number, address, date of birth, and sex, and for verification purposes, the subject individual's name (woman's maiden name, if applicable), and social security number (SSN). Furnishing the SSN is voluntary, but it may make searching for a record easier and prevent delay.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

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 systems 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:

The data contained in these records are furnished by the individual, or in the case of some MSP situations, through third party contacts. There are cases, however, in which the identifying information is provided to the physician by the individual; the physician then adds the medical information and submits the bill to the carrier for payment. Updating information is also obtained from the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Master Beneficiary Record maintained by the SSA.

SYSTEMS EXEMPTED FROM CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE ACT:

None.

End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E8-3562 Filed 2-25-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4120-03-P