Providers shrug off accreditation delay

Sunday, November 30, 2008

BALTIMORE--O&P fitters got a temporary reprieve from accreditation in September, when CMS exempted the category from a Sept. 30, 2009, deadline. But that wasn’t necessary, say many providers.

“I am surprised they would have any carve outs,” said John Shero, vice president of sales for Wichita, Kan.-based Regal Medical. “I think accreditation is good. I am tired of defending myself against crooks.”

CMS plans to release a draft of revised standards specifically for O&P and seek public comment sometime in 2009. That will give providers and other stakeholders a shot at creating meaningful guidelines, said Scott Williamson, director of facility accreditation for the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics.

“What we want to do is level the playing field so that those who are qualified and doing a good job are not having to compete with people who take shortcuts,” he said. “In some states, pretty much anyone can hang out a shingle and claim to be an O&P.”

The Board of Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification (BOC) also plans to work with CMS on the quality standards, said Jim Newberry, a consultant with the organization.

“Our attitude is to be diligent and not try to outguess them,” he said.

Neither organization has seen a drop-off in applications due to the O&P exemption. Most O&P providers-like other HME providers-have accepted accreditation as part of doing business, said Williamson.

“It’s inevitable so they might as well get ahead of the curve,” he said.