CMS delays face-to-face reg

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. - CMS delayed issuing a final regulation on its new face-to-face requirement in early November so it could adequately address a truck load of public comments.

In its own words, CMS stated: “Due to the timeframe and the extensive number of public comments received, we will implement this provision at a later date. We will address all public comments in a future Federal Register document.”

CMS was to publish the final face-to-face reg in the Federal Register on Nov. 2.

The Medicare Prescription Drug Act, which President Bush signed into law last December, mandates that prior to prescribing a DME product, a physician must meet face-to-face with the beneficiary. The rule is intended to reduce fraud and unnecessary utilization.

Initially, industry watchers expected the requirement to apply only to power wheelchairs. Wording in July’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making, however, applied it to all DME.

Most troublesome to providers is the mandate that equipment be ordered within 30 days following the face-to-face meeting. For some products like customized power wheelchairs, that timeframe is a real squeeze and in some cases impossible. Whether CMS broadens this component of the regulation, is anyone’s guess, “but it’s good that they are sitting back and looking at the comments,” said Seth Johnson, Pride Mobility’s director of government affairs. HME

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