HQAA puts billers to the test

Sunday, October 30, 2011

WATERLOO, Iowa - HQAA planned a "soft launch" for a new accreditation program specifically for third-party billing companies at Medtrade in October.

HQAA, one of 10 agencies approved by Medicare to accredit HME providers, completed beta testing for the new program with a handful of billing companies in September.

"This is part of our continued effort in accreditation in the chain between the patient and Medicare," said Mary Nicholas, executive director.

HQAA developed the standards for the program from a number of sources, including health information networks and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Accreditation is not required for third-party billing companies, but HQAA still believes there's a need.

"We've come across enough independent billing companies that have taken our providers down a path that they shouldn't have gone down," Nicholas said. "It's good to have another set of eyes."

Professional Medical Administrators was one of the billing companies involved in beta testing. It passed with no deficiencies. Owner Sylvia Toscano sees benefit in the program for HME providers in that it will help keep billing companies on their toes.

"Any type of accreditation requires upkeep," Toscano said. "It forces you to look at what you're doing on a regular basis. Already, after going through the beta testing, I want to try to build a better mousetrap."

HQAA officially launches the program Jan. 1, 2012.