Fingerprints slow Medicare application process

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WASHINGTON – There have been delays in processing new Medicare applications for DME providers due to CMS’s new fingerprinting initiative, the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) reports.

“MAMES has been hearing from suppliers and consultants on what appears to be added delays,” reads the association’s Feb. 2 bulletin.

CMS began phasing in fingerprint-based background checks for HME and home health providers last year. Initially, it’s requiring the checks for newly enrolling and other high-risk providers. Eventually, however, it will require fingerprinting for all individuals with a 5% or greater ownership in an HME or home health company.

MAMES reports that during a recent meeting of the National Supplier Clearinghouse Advisory Committee (NSCAC) and the National Supplier Clearinghouse, the following questions about the delays were addressed:

Question: Can you please provide an outline of the process from when the CMS855S application is received to when a fingerprint is initiated by CMS to when it is returned to the NSC?

Answer: Once fingerprints are reviewed by CMS, the NSC receives ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ notification. Application processing will not begin until the NSC receives CMS notification.

Question: What are the percentages of applications that are going for fingerprinting and what is the average time added to processing the applications because of this?

Answer: All new applicants are subject to fingerprinting. Response time of the practitioner, quality of fingerprints or discrepancies can cause delays in processing. No official timeframe has been determined.

Question: Is it possible to proactively submit fingerprinting prior to being asked for this by the NSC?

Answer: As Accurate Biometrics is processing in response to the individuals identified by CMS, fingerprints should only be submitted when requested.

Question: Several states—one example is Florida—require fingerprints for state licensure and for Medicaid. If a provider has these fingerprints on file, is there any reciprocity with CMS?

Answer: The NSC is not able to use fingerprints for Medicaid or any other entity for Medicare application processing.