Open door forum offers few answers

Sunday, December 24, 2006

WASHINGTON - Nearly 400 providers tuned in to CMS's Open Door Forum last Wednesday with a mishmash of questions on everything from accreditation to national provider numbers. Unfortunately, many of the questions went unanswered.

Foremost on providers' minds: When do they need to be accredited?

"It will be in the coming year," said a CMS official at the start of the call. "We do not have a drop dead date."

One caller asked if the oft-delayed release of the competitive bidding final rule would at least push back the deadline for accreditation.

"I can't plan or budget for new development," explained the caller.

CMS officials said the best advice they could give was to be patient.

"We certainly know it's in the best interest of everyone to have the final rule published as soon as possible," said a CMS official.

An oxygen provider wondered how to bid with multiple locations.

"All those issues will be addressed as we're rolling out the program," said a CMS official. "Then, you'll know how to bid."

A few callers asked if accreditation was necessary if they were selling Part B drugs but no DME or other supplies. The answer is no, but at least one caller asked if that could be clarified in writing.

"What other way can we make that clearer than (we have) the past six months," was the rather testy response.