Letters to the editor

Thursday, March 25, 2010

'They just don't care about the little guy'

I am a small DME in Florida with the same issue ("What's the hold up, NSC?" March 1 HME NewsWire). They told us that once we got our Medicare number reinstated it would be retroactive to when we surrendered our number. Apparently, this is not the case. What do I do with all the claims of the patients I did service while waiting? Things got so bad that both of my employees and I had to get jobs outside of the business to make ends meet. They just don't care about the little guy!

- Aileen Valentin, Perfect Medical Solutions, Sanford, Fla.

'That put me at odds with a lot of vendors'

Thank you for publishing the front-page article regarding providers struggling ("Providers struggle in aftermath," HME News, February 2010). I just think it doesn't get enough attention. I'm not sure how much you've heard from the provider community, but these delays and CMS's interpretations are putting us at risk. I was one of the providers who could not get accredited by Sept. 30. They finally got me in and I was done effectively Oct. 7. However, since the NSC didn't finish their paperwork on my updated 855 until Nov. 21 (per CMS's instructions), that's when they reinstated me, leaving me with about 125 denied claims, worth almost $30,000. For me as a small business, that really hurt and put me at odds with a lot of vendors I have dealt with for a long time. I have gotten my senators involved, but as usual, it's a slow go. Anyway, thanks for the print. Please keep it up and the pressure on!

- Rickey Mattiace, president and CEO, Coast Medical Supply, Biloxi, Miss.

Medicare 'has dealt a heavy blow on us financially'

I read the write-up "What's the hold up, NSC?" in the March 1 HME NewsWire. My husband is a supplier also and for five months we have been without income because he also voluntarily gave up his provider number. I don't have a good paying job presently and his not working has dealt a heavy blow on us financially: We are practically eating from hand to mouth; my son has had to be pulled out of school because we cannot afford to pay for his tuition, housing and feeding; and our house is about to be foreclosed. These are just a few of the issues that we are facing. Recently, Medicare sent a fax to my husband requesting his employer identification number and, while he went to the IRS to immediately get this, an inspector came to inspect his office. The inspector met no one because we cannot afford to employ an extra hand when we can barely feed ourselves.

- Provider

Why the dog and pony show?

We, too, have been on the sidelines since December 1 ("What's the hold up, NSC?" March 1 HME NewsWire). The NSC mistakenly thought that a revocation letter sent in as an attachment to our renewal application was an appeal by us for revocation. Then our renewal application was misplaced in a different department for two weeks until I called inquiring. Now we're back at the end of the list. This is my 9th renewal. I've been a loyal partner of the DME program since 1981 and, except for the minor matter referenced above, totally within the rules. Yes, I had trouble getting ACHC to get here in time and missed the accreditation deadline but not the bond deadline. It seems logical to me that once you and the NSC received the letter affirming your accreditation, all that was needed was a simple sworn affidavit that reaffirmed that everything within the current three year cycle was current and with the press of button, you're back in. Why in hell, pray tell, were we forced to go through this dog and pony show? I know. Wait us out and see how many of us will throw in the towel. I've got the resources to wait them out but it's just plain lousy government business. Not surprising.

- Francisco Velazquez, Aspin Health Systems, San Antonio

'We don't know what else to do'

I am having a similar issue ("What's the hold up, NSC?" March 1 HME NewsWire). We branched away from our sister company in December 2009. We applied for a new number on September 8th--that's when they received it. The application remained in the mailroom, according to multiple customer service reps with the NSC, and was not scanned into the NSC system until  November 19th. We had an onsite survey on December 7th and they said everything looked great; we had everything they asked for. It wasn't until Jan. 21, 2010, that it was assigned to a supplier enrollment analyst with the NSC. We have been told 60 days on three different occasions. We have had to send our Medicare business elsewhere. We have even had a senator call for us and they told someone at his office that we would be contacted and still no call. We have all of our credentials and don't know what else to do. Thanks for making people aware of these types of situations.

- Provider