Committee seeks to troubleshoot problems

Sunday, February 25, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. - An industry advisory committee aims to make sure that National Supplier Clearinghouse inspectors conduct site visits consistently and accurately.

For the past year, the advisory committee has tracked site visits by Overland Solutions, the NSC's contracted inspector, after hearing reports of irregular inspection procedures, said Rose Schafhauser, an administrator with the committee.

"It's not alarming at this point," said Schafhauser. "We're trying to get this out there (in case) providers don't have an idea of how to address it if there is an any issue."

The committee hears from a few providers each month, but Schafhauser fears that most accept a failed site visit at face value, simply because they did not know what to expect. Only those people who understand the process complain, she said.

One provider said an inspector added his own additional criteria to the standard form. In another instance, an inspector reported that a provider wasn't open during posted hours when, in fact, the store was open, but the manager wasn't in and employees asked the inspector to return.

The site visits are used to determine whether a provider meets the NSC's 21 supplier standards on initial applications, re-enrollments and reactivations. The inspector then turns in a report to the NSC to make the final decision on the provider's application.

"These two aren't held accountable to one another except for the inspector turning in a report and the NSC has to take what the inspector's report is at its entirety," said Schafhauser. "We're trying to provide education here and the NSC has been great working with the committee."