CMS set to announce accreditation deadline

Sunday, December 16, 2007

WASHINGTON - At long last, CMS plans to announce on Wednesday the deadline by which all HME providers who want to bill Medicare must become accredited. The Special Open Door Forum conference call is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 19. To participate, dial: 1-800-837-1935 and reference ID 27829970

At the conference, CMS will announce:

* The deadline by which new suppliers must apply to the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) for a supplier number in order to qualify for a special accreditation grace period;

* The deadline by which new DMEPOS suppliers who qualified for the accreditation grace period will need to be accredited; and

* The deadline by which all DMEPOS suppliers will need to be accredited.

AAHomecare and other industry leaders have advocated mandatory accreditation for months, even years, as a way to help weed out fraud and create a level playing field for all legitimate providers.

The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) mandated that CMS require all HME providers to become accredited. Since then, CMS has developed quality standards but delayed setting a mandatory deadline. As a result, many providers--not knowing the deadline or if the requirement might be repealed--have procrastinated getting accredited, and Medicare fraud and abuse has thrived.