CMS on accreditation woes: 'They have had ample opportunity'

Sunday, August 2, 2009

BALTIMORE - CMS officials who led last week's Open Door Forum had little sympathy for HME providers who are scrambling to meet a Sept. 30 accreditation deadline.

"CMS has been encouraging DMEPOS suppliers to obtain accreditation since November 2006," one official said. "They have had ample opportunity to meet the requirement."

During the forum, CMS officials reminded providers that there is no such things as "partial" or "light" accreditation; that if a provider submitted an application to become accredited by Jan. 31, it will receive a decision by the deadline; that if a provider didn't submit an application by Jan. 31, all bets are off; and that despite lobbying efforts to exempt pharmacies from the requirement, at the moment, they're no different than anyone else.

Additionally, CMS officials reminded providers that the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) plans to issue termination or revocation letters on Oct. 1 to providers that haven't met the accreditation deadline. It will then revoke their Medicare billing privileges in 30 days.

Also during the forum, CMS officials said they're "close to finalizing" a more detailed timeline for national competitive bidding, including the dates when registration opens and bidding begins.

CMS officials pointed out that the agency has published an MLN Matters article (number SE915) to help providers update their 855S enrollment forms, a requirement of registering for competitive bidding and submitting bids. The article highlights "critical parts" of the form, including personal identifying information (legal name, date of birth and Social Security number) and mailing address. Officials reminded providers that it takes the NSC about 45 days to process the forms.

There were 561 callers who participated in the forum. The next forum: Sept. 16.