NSC update: 'Hopefully, the worst is over'

Monday, April 26, 2010

I heard from a couple of different providers on March 31 who had just gotten their Medicare billing numbers reinstated—one called on the phone, the other posted a comment on hmenews.com.

“Theresa, do you remember me?” asked the caller. “I just got my number reinstated, but only to March 27. What about all those other months of rental on my equipment?”

That provider’s lawmaker had written a letter on his behalf and within two weeks he had his number back, although he still seeks to bill retroactively to the date he relinquished it.

Meanwhile, the volume of calls to the National Supplier Clearinghouse Advisory Committee has dwindled, said Rose Schafhauser, operations administrator.

“Hopefully—hopefully—the worst is over,” she said. “I think the backlog was so large and you had so many people that were voluntarily suspending their numbers (that the NSC couldn’t keep up).”

Still, the whole experience has left a bitter taste in providers’ mouths.

“For the first five months, our application was in the mail room in a pile,” commented one provider on our Web site. “In January, it was changed to a pile on someone’s desk. Unbelievable! Sixty days as advertised turned into eight months—wish my creditors had the same timeline.”