CMS lifts moratorium on supplier numbers

Sunday, November 9, 2003

November 10, 2003

WASHINGTON - CMS has authorized the National Supplier Clearinghouse to begin submitting applications for new supplier numbers to CMS for approval, the NSC announced Nov. 6.

Following revelation of the Wheeler Dealer power wheelchair scam in Houston, Texas, CMS began an aggressive scrutiny of all provider number applications - not just those in Houston. The extra scrutiny placed a moratorium on the issuance of new provider numbers, reactivations, renewels, reconsiderations, hearings and numbers for new locations.

Since then, CMS has relaxed the moratorium. Renewals and reactivations are now being processed. Applications are also being processed for some existing providers who need additional supplier numbers for new locations or acquisitions, say industry sources.

The applications for new suppliers of DMEPOS will now be evaluated and prioritized based on the NSC’s review of the applications, site visit results and background checks of owners and managing employees. A number of problems uncovered in the enrollment process relate to suppliers that achieved only minimal compliance with the 21 standards, according to CMS.

Currently, the NSC is processing applications to the point of issuing new provider numbers. As such, providers should submit applications, and not hold them, according to CMS.