Medicaid sets accreditation deadline

Monday, March 31, 2008

ATLANTA – Home medical equipment providers in Georgia now have two accreditation deadlines to contend with.
Providers learned recently that they must become accredited by April 1, 2009, if they want to continue doing business with the state’s Medicaid program. All providers must become accredited by Sept. 30, 2009, if they want to continue doing business with Medicare.
“We’re not accredited yet, but we’re confident we’ll be accredited long before the deadline comes,” said Scott Lloyd, president of Extrakare in Norcross, Ga. “We’re in favor of it. Accreditation is a tool that can help to police fraud and abuse a little bit.”
Medicaid programs in Florida, Tennessee and Oklahoma, as well as private insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, also have accreditation requirements in place, according to accrediting organizations.
Most providers in Georgia, like Lloyd, support accreditation, but some providers, like Scott Scobey, would like more time to comply with the requirement.
“We have about a year,” said Scobey, president of Low Country Mobility in Savannah, Ga. “It would have been nice if they had given us until Sept. 30, 2009, since we have to get accredited by then anyway.”
Georgia Medicaid plans to release an updated program manual this month that matches its accreditation deadline with Medicare’s, said Patricia Ross, a DME program specialist for the agency.
Getting accredited by either April 1, 2009, or Sept. 30, 2009, is “absolutely doable” for providers in Georgia, said Tim Safley, the HME clinical adviser for ACHC.
“But they can’t wait to start the process,” he said. “They have to get started today.”
Accrediting organizations expect most states to require accreditation eventually. For providers who do both Medicare and Medicaid business, state requirements will become a moot point after Sept. 30, 2009. But for providers who do only Medicaid business—those who serve pediatric clients, for example—state requirements will force them to act.
“There won’t be an escape for those providers anymore,” said Terry Duncombe, president and CEO of CHAP. HME