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Stakeholders gear up for NSC transition

Stakeholders gear up for NSC transition

Kelly GrahovacWASHINGTON – It should be business as usual for providers when CMS winds down the National Supplier Clearinghouse on Nov. 6, but industry stakeholders caution a wait-and-see approach. 

Agency officials announced during a Sept. 21 Open Door Forum that it’s transitioning from the NSC to two National Provider Enrollment Contractors: Palmetto GBA, for the western half of the country (NPEC West) and Novitas for the eastern half (NPEC East).  

While stakeholders are familiar with Palmetto, which currently serves as the NSC, in addition to holding several other Medicare contracts, Novitas, which holds some Medicare Part A and B contracts, is a relative unknown in the DMEPOS industry, says Kelly Grahovac, general manager for The Van Halem Group. 

“We know how Palmetto GBA processes applications or develops them when items are missing,” she said. “What we don’t know is, what that’s going to look like for Novitas and how they are going to do things?” 

Behind the scenes, nothing changes. Providers will still use PECOS to submit online enrollment applications and CMS’s supplier standards remain unchanged, says Ronda Buhrmester, senior director of payer relations and reimbursement for VGM & Associates. 

“CMS sets the guidelines – there’s already supplier standards and those are still there,” she said. “I don’t want that to be confusing for suppliers. CMS has said everything will be transferred over.” 

Moving forward, communication will be key, say both Grahovac and Buhrmester, who sit on the National Supplier Clearinghouse Advisory Committee, a longtime advisory council made up of suppliers and stakeholders. 

“(The council) has worked out well (with Palmetto) so we hope Novitas is open to that,” said Buhrmester. “They don’t have to, but we hope they see that it helps them.”  


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