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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

[SD Discussion Prompt #3] Required immediate suspension for false claims

We're doing a few blog posts to help you provide your public comment on the proposed rule, Serious Deficiency in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. We have until May 21st to share with USDA FNS our thoughts about the proposed rule and the serious deficiency process. CACFP Roundtable has heard it would be helpful to have some discussion prompts to talk about this with staff and community. We've done:


State agencies would be required to suspend institutions for false claims

In the current regulations state agencies are required to suspend Institutions (child care centers, at risk afterschool programs, adult day health service centers etc) for serious public health and safety violations. Currently, it is an option to do it for false or fraudulent claims. The proposed rule would require state agencies to suspend based on false or fraudulent claims.


Some things to know while you think about this topic.

  1. Suspension, serious deficiency, proposed termination, and proposed disqualification mean that reimbursement payments are immediately frozen and there is no option for corrective action. This is very different from the whole serious deficiency process. Suspension goes immediately to a right to appeal and if the appeal official does not overturn the suspension, the Institution will be terminated for cause and placed on the National Disqualified List for seven years.

  2. False claims are not clearly defined in the current or proposed rule. In the proposed rule they are described as "a claim that cannot be verified with required documentation." This could be incorrect or lack of enrollment forms, income eligibility forms, claiming the wrong meals, point of service documentation and the list goes on. This is the current rule and would be the required process for state agencies to implement when there are false claims.


Some questions we’ve been asking and some questions you can discuss with your colleagues in preparation for commenting

  • Do you think the definition of a false claim is clear enough for state agencies to fairly and consistently determine when a false claim has been submitted?

  • Does it make CACFP a more fair, equitable, and accessible program to operate and access?

  • Does anything about requiring state agencies to suspend for false claims make you uncomfortable? If so, what might that be?

  • Have you had findings that were considered inaccurate or false claims? Do you think this could put your operations at a higher risk of being terminated from CACFP?


 


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