Protect yourself from the NSC

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Q. In this new day of Orwellian oversight, how can I keep the NSC satisfied?

A. Be knowledgeable, proactive and political. The National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) appears to be taking a “no nonsense” approach to revocation, attempting to revoke HME supplier licenses for such minor noncompliance issues as failure to post proper office hours and failure to change a physical address in a timely fashion. Suppliers must protect themselves.
Be knowledgeable
The rules require the NSC to inform suppliers of the reasons for revocation. If a revocation letter cites inaccurate statutes or misinterprets existing statutes this can be considered improper notice. Improper notice may render ineffective any revocation attempt. Knowledge of the rules will help suppliers in appeals because hearing officers will be more sympathetic to suppliers who are being targeted for minor compliance issues, particularly when the NSC and CMS often don’t comply with their own regulations.
Be Proactive
If you receive a request from the NSC for additional information or a warning that you are not in compliance, investigate and respond. Too many suppliers ignore or respond without investigating what they consider to be trivial compliance issues. Under the rules, suppliers must be granted an opportunity to correct most compliance issues prior to a final decision to revoke. Suppliers should acknowledge minor mistakes, and show how they intend to correct them.
Be political
Industries consistently ignored by Congress have at least one thing in common: They are not politically active. Politicians respond to suppliers’ concerns, but they must be educated. HME suppliers need to take the lead in education. If you are not in a trade association, join one.
Brian Miller is an associate attorney at the Health Law Center. Reach him at 864-676-9075 or