CMS to providers: Pay attention to the rules

Sunday, July 5, 2009

BALTIMORE - Whether it involved surety bonds, accreditation or national competitive bidding, CMS officials had plenty of reminders and warnings for providers during last week's Open Door Forum.

"There is a rumor floating around that suppliers with more than 20 locations need only obtain a maximum $1 million bond that will cover all their locations," said CMS's surety bond expert Frank Whelan. "There is no truth to that rumor. You must obtain $50,000 worth of coverage for each location regardless of number."

Additionally, he said, if you are a DMEPOS supplier enrolling in Medicare for the first time, an existing DMEPOS supplier undergoing a change of ownership, or an existing supplier establishing a new location, you must submit a surety bond to the NSC with your CMS-855S application.

Enrolled DMEPOS suppliers who do not fall into one those categories must submit a valid surety bond to the NSC by Oct. 2, 2009, Whelan said.

When it comes to competitive bidding, said CMS official Joel Kaiser, providers planning to bid this fall in Round 1 must do three things: update their NSC files; obtain all necessary state licenses; and get accredited.

"If you don't do these three things--if you don't start the process now--you are putting yourself in jeopardy of not being eligible to bid under Round 1," Kaiser said.

Sandra Bastinelli, acting division director of special programs, had a few reminders for the 440 listeners, as well, this time on accreditation:

-    Make sure the enrollment application CMS-855S includes all company locations.

-    DMEPOS suppliers cannot cohabitate. That is, only one DMEPOS supplier number can be located at one address.

-    If you are not going to get a surety bond or become accredited, it's best to submit a voluntary termination form to the NSC. Providers who do so preserve their rights to re-enroll in Medicare once they meet those requirements. Providers who don't do that will have their supplier numbers revoked. A revocation bars a provider from re-enrolling in Medicare for at least one year after the date of revocation.