AABCP offers sure-ty thing

Sunday, May 31, 2009

HOUSTON--Some women’s health providers have another option when it comes to obtaining surety bonds. In April, the American Association of Breast Care Professionals (AABCP) began offering the bonds to its members.

“We found most of the bonds that were being offered didn’t take the unique qualities of a mastectomy boutique into consideration,” said Rhonda Turner, president. “They do have to be certified and accredited but they really are very small in some cases. A lot of the financial and paperwork requirements were unduly burdensome for our group.”

Last December, CMS issued a ruling that requires HME providers that bill Medicare to obtain a $50,000 surety bond. New providers and those changing ownership had to obtain bonds by May 4. Existing providers must obtain them by Oct. 2.

AABCP partnered with a carrier that will issue the bonds, which range in price from $250 to $500. The application process can be done through  www.aabcp.org. Turnaround time for a single location is about 48 hours.

“We tried to streamline the process,” she said. “Some of the bond offers require a financial life history.”

Providers with multiple locations or who have had prior adverse actions with CMS will need to provide additional documentation, Turner said.

The lower-cost bonds are easier for providers to absorb, she said. Reduced reimbursements and accreditation have been difficult for women’s health providers.

“These are small boutiques that don’t pose a whole lot of risk and they don’t deal in items that are high risk, high-audit items,” said Turner.