Exciting news! CMS has proposed a rule to allow electronic signatures on Medicare cost report signature pages.
Anyone who has ever filed a cost report knows that it is often a hassle to get the signature page from your preparer, have it signed by the administrator or CFO of the facility in blue ink, and then mail the actual hard copy to the provider’s fiscal intermediary (MAC).
The new proposal means that the “wet signature” would no longer be required, and cost reports might be able to be emailed or uploaded via an online system to the provider’s MAC, wherever applicable.
The new rule is proposed to take effect for cost reporting periods beginning 10/1/17 and later, but has not yet been approved.
Electronic signatures, in this case, may include any format of the original signature as long as it contains the first and last names of the signer. Examples would be photocopies or stamps or an electronic signature entered into the cost report software.
Anyone who would wish to avail themselves of the electronic signature option would need to make sure that the appropriate corresponding proposed checkbox allowing this option is checked on the signature page.
Hard copies of signature pages with actual signatures would still be allowed, and would then need to be mailed, as in the past.
You can read the proposed rule in the Federal Register/Vol 82, No. 81 published on April 28, 2017, on which this blog is based. The information about this rule begins on page 344.