Docs exempt from accreditation, not HMEs

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BALTIMORE--Physicians and other medical professionals bestowed numerous thanks on CMS officials during an Aug. 18 Open Door Forum. The reason: Under an addition to the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), they don’t have to get accredited.

HME providers must still become accredited by Sept. 30, 2009.

A subparagraph added to MIPPA states that “eligible professionals and other persons are exempt from meeting the September 30, 2009, accreditation deadline until CMS determines that the quality standards are specifically designed to apply to such professionals.”

Those eligible professionals include physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, nurses and several others.

CMS official Sandra Bastinelli emphasized that the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has discretion over the exemptions.

“Eligible professionals and other persons are exempt unless CMS determines that the quality standards are specifically designed to apply to such professionals,” she said.

AAHomecare opposes the exemption. “Accreditation helps to ensure that patients receive high-quality homecare, and it is also an important tool in preventing fraud in the Medicare program,” stated Tyler Wilson, president and CEO.

Bastinelli added that CMS will also, for the time being, exempt orthotists and prosthetists from the Sept. 30, 2009, deadline. She said the agency will be issuing further clarification on the quality standards.

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