Cancelled deadline slows applications

Sunday, August 31, 2008

How’s business for the accrediting agencies? It depends, they say, on whether you’re talking about before or after CMS in July cancelled special accreditation deadlines for providers planning to participate in Round 2 of national competitive bidding.

“We had a couple of huge rushes until they removed the July deadline,” said Bob Floro, director of homecare accreditation for JCAHO. “We saw hundreds of applications within a three-month period; now we’re down to a few a day.”

Previously, suppliers had to become accredited or apply to become accredited by July 21, 2008, to submit bids for Round 2. They had to complete accreditation by Jan. 14, 2009, to accept contracts.

All providers who bill Medicare must be accredited by Sept. 30, 2009.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that that hasn’t changed,” said Mary Nicholas, executive director of HQAA.

“That’s always been the light at the end of our tunnel. Now we have one date. That’s my focus.”

Sept. 30, 2009, isn’t as far off as it seems.

“We do this on a first-come, first-served basis,” said Tim Safley, HME clinical adviser for ACHC. “There’s about 30,000 providers that still need to get accredited. To put that into perspective: Even if we do only 10% of that number, that is 3,000 providers and it takes two to four months (for each provider).”

Meanwhile, accreditors continue to spread the word.

“We do advertising and go to just about everything, all the shows,” said Sandra Canally, president of The Compliance Team. “We’re continually out there talking and doing presentations for a variety of organizations and teleconferences.”