CMS: Revised standards on the way

Sunday, June 29, 2008

BALTIMORE - CMS's revised quality standards should be finalized by the end of July, Sandra Bastinelli told listeners during last week's Open Door Forum.

"I believe, in the last call, I told you that we were still going through the public comments," said Bastinelli, who heads up CMS's accreditation program. "That has finished and we are now in the internal clearance process."

Industry stakeholders have criticized CMS for not having the revised standards finalized before the accreditation deadlines for national competitive bidding.

Speaking of competitive bidding, listeners asked two questions about the program, which CMS plans to kick off July 1. One listener asked officials how they would notify providers and beneficiaries of a delay.

"At this point, I just want to say that we are proceeding forward with implementation for July 1," said Martha Kuespert, director of CMS's DMEPOS policy division. "We all know how things go on Capitol Hill. We are, of course, aware of what's going on up there, and we are prepared to deal with whatever happens and notify people if there is a delay. There are all kinds of ways that we have to notify the supplier community: listservs, Web postings, things of that nature. But we want to stress that everyone needs to be ready for July 1 for the program to start up."

"So people should go ahead as planned until they hear something directly from CMS?" the provider asked.

"Well, I think that's right," Kuespert said. "No law has been passed."

Another provider asked officials how contract providers should notify CMS that they're adding locations or making other changes. Kuespert advised providers to follow the process outlined in the cover letter accompanying their signed contracts.

Also during the forum, officials reminded providers that CMS recently released contact information for the competitive bidding ombudsmen, who will help resolve complaints and concerns. For more information, go to

Additionally, CMS recently released separate zip-code files for the mail order product category and all other categories. For more information, go to

There were 376 listeners. The next Open Door Forum: Aug. 13.