Transcript for audio podcast:
How to Use the Exclusions Database
From the Office of Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services
My name is Andrea Berlin and I am an attorney with the Office of The Inspector General.
Did you know that if you employ an excluded individual or contract with an excluded entity it could cost you money, and potentially a lot of money?
As explained in more detail in the podcast regarding exclusion, you could be liable for Civil Monetary Penalties, and you may not be able to get a provider number. In other words, it could potentially cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, how do you make sure that doesn't happen to you?
You check the OIG's Exclusions Database, also known as the LEIE, which is short for the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. This list is free, simple, and easy to use, and it is easy for us to tell if you didn't check it.
Now I am going to show you how to use the website to protect yourself and your business.
First go to www.oig.hhs.gov.
Then, go to the right, and click on the box on the right with the big red "X" labeled Exclusions Database.
As you can see, you can screen five names at one time.
Remember to screen owners, managers, and officers of the company. In other words, screen your boss. I'll screen my boss, Lewis Morris.
As you can see, I've made a spelling mistake with his first name, so I will just hit the clear button, and that will erase everything, and I can start over.
Remember to screen yourself as well. I'll enter my name now.
You should also screen any other names used, such as aliases, hyphenated names, and maiden names, so I will screen my maiden name, "Treese."
By using "Treese," the entry would also pick up "Treese Berlin" or any other entry that begins with the word "Treese."
In fact, here is a great tip: just type the first few letters of the last name with no first name to cast a wider net.
Why would you want to do that?
Well, casting a wider net should catch if an individual is trying to mask their exclusion by changing the spelling of their name or their first name. Some excluded individuals are very tricky. They try to get a job without disclosing that they are excluded. In order to do that, they might slightly alter their name. In other cases, individuals may not recognize that a legitimate name change could be problematic. In order to avoid these issues, you should always ask employees for any other names used, and screen those names against the database.
It is also important to note that you do not need to capitalize letters in the names of the individuals or entities in order for the search to work, but you do need to include punctuation. For example, if searching for the name "O'Conner," remember to include the apostrophe.
You can also use the database to check the names of businesses. I will check Forest Park. When checking the name of a business, your search must begin with the first letters in the entity's name. For example, beginning your search with the word "Dental" would return any entity named "Dental Care Unlimited," but would not return "Unlimited Dental Care."
Lastly, for good measure I will show you what happens when you check a common name like James Smith.
I'll use the name "James" to limit the matches for demonstration purposes. However, someone named James could use the names James, Jimmy, or Jim, so what you need to do is use the letter "J" or leave the first name blank to cast a wider net.
So now we can hit search and here are the results.
Luckily, as you can see from the top, there are no hits for me or my boss.
There is, however, a hit for Forest Park, and there are multiple hits for James Smith, so let's click on the first "James Smith" result.
Now we can verify if this is the same person by entering the Social Security Number. I will use 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 and then click "Verify".
And here we see what we expected—no match. We didn't expect a match because we didn't think that anyone would have the social security number 123-45-6789
Also, when you look at an entry, never rely solely on the address. People move all the time, so just because James Smith was from North Carolina at the time of his exclusion, that doesn't mean he is not the same Jimmy Smith applying for a position in Oregon.
Also, you'll notice that it lists his occupation as Nursing Profession. That does not mean he won't be applying for a non-licensed position now, or have a different type of licensure.
Further, the prohibition doesn't apply just for the area in which the excluded person previously worked, so, for example, if James Smith is hired to work maintaining medical records in a hospital, the hospital would still be liable.
Now let's talk about some other great features of the web site. If you click on "Exclusions" and pull down the dropdown menu, you'll be able to see lots of cool additional information.
For example, you can select the LEIE Downloadable Database.
Here you can download the database to Excel or Access. That way you can screen many more employees at one time. However, it's important to remember that these are not self-executing programs, you have to extract the information and put it in Excel or Access. For example, if you click on the LEIE Database EXE link, you will be asked if you want to run or save the document.
Click "save." Once it has been saved you will get another prompt.
Some people have reported that they have trouble trying to use the "run" function. If you do have trouble, you can also go into Excel or Access and try to open the saved database that way.
Now let's go back to the Downloadable Database main page. While we are here, you will also notice there are monthly updates. It's important to note that those monthly updates do not include the complete database. Rather, they only show the names that have been added and removed from the selection this month.
Next we'll go back to the Exclusions drop down menu again.
And you can see that there are a lot of other features available. For example, you can look up "Background Information" on Exclusions or you can learn about "Applying for Reinstatement."
Also make sure you review the Frequently Asked Questions and the Quick Tips.
Some key tips are:
First, screen prospective employees and vendors before hiring, and screen all existing employees and vendors regularly.
Second, be smart about screening all possible names against the database. Ask employees to tell you former names, such as maiden names, so you can also check those against the database.
Third, remember to double check spelling.
Fourth, do not forget to take the final step of identity verification using the SOCIAL Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number, or E-I-N. It's not sufficient to simply match a first name and last name on the LEIE. Also, if you find a potential match using the Downloadable Data file, you must still verify those results by entering verifying information online. That's because The Privacy Act prohibits us from including social security numbers in the Downloadable Data file.
Fifth, document your efforts. If there is ever a problem, you may need to prove to us that you properly screened someone. And, as I mentioned before, it is easy for us to tell if you haven't.
If you do find out that an employee is excluded, consider removing that employee from his or her role in your organization. Also, consider whether you should initiate bill holds or disclose the matter to the OIG through the OIG's self-disclosure protocol, which is the subject of a separate podcast.
If you have any questions, contact us and we'd be happy to help. Costly lessons can be easily avoided. We want to make sure that you have all of the resources you need to protect yourself and your business.
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