Study: CMS underestimates paperwork burdens

Sunday, September 25, 2005

WASHINGTON - CMS's claim that it takes only minutes to gather documentation for power wheelchair and scooter claims is pure fantasy, according to an HME industry survey released last week.

CMS estimated recently that it takes providers only 12 minutes to process a claim. But on average, it takes more than three hours, according to the Restore Access to Mobility Partnership.

RAMP, a coalition of providers and manufacturers, conducted the survey to bolster its argument that CMS underestimates the paperwork burden on providers. Under the agency's proposed new rule, that burden would only increase, with providers required to collect prescriptions and keep medical records on file.

Other results of the survey: More than 75% of claims required at least one follow-up to obtain proper documentation, and almost 70% of claims required more than 10 pages of documentation.

"The message we take out of this is that it takes a lot of time," said Don Clayback, who heads up The MED Group's National Rehab network. "It has taken repeat phone calls and follow-up, and at the end of the day, you end up with six sheets of paper to support these claims."

Per the proposed new rule, providers would have 30 days to gather documentation and submit claims.

More than 100 companies took the RAMP survey, which was distributed to members of The MED Group's rehab network and the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS).

RAMP will include the survey results in its comments to CMS.

The proposed new rule is due to go into effect on Oct. 25.