Industry divided over Senate’s call for accreditation

Sunday, June 22, 2003

June 23, 2003

YARMOUTH, Maine - As the full Senate deliberates Medicare reform legislation that calls for HME providers to become accredited by a recognized accreditation organization, a June 16 HME NewsPoll found that the industry is evenly divided between those who favor accreditation and those who do not.

Fifty-one percent of 115 respondents favor mandatory accreditation; 49% are opposed.

The issue’s critics don’t want the added costs associated with accreditation, especially if the government imposes additional cuts in the form of a CPI freeze or competitive bidding. They believe state licensure is enough. They don’t want more government regulation. They don’t believe it will ensure higher quality service for Medicare beneficiaries. They believe it will limit competition. They believe accreditation is good for large HME companies but bad for small companies.

The issue’s boosters say mandatory accreditation will weed out companies that practice fraud and abuse, principally by raising barriers to entry. They point out that the HME industry is the only significant sector of healthcare that does not require some form of rigorous standards. Accreditation, they say, will ensure a more professional class of suppliers and provide more credibility to those who bill Medicare.