CMS recently published a proposed rule to strengthen enrollment standards for suppliers of durable medical equipment and prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies ("DMEPOS"). As part of the new measures, new suppliers are required to obtain accreditation from one of the ten accrediting organizations announced in November 2006. New suppliers that apply to the National Supplier Clearinghouse ("NSC") for a supplier number before March 1, 2008, must be accredited by December 31, 2008, and those suppliers who apply for a supplier number on or after March 1, 2008, must be accredited before they can get a supplier number. All other suppliers must be accredited by September 30, 2009. To ensure that only legitimate DMEPOS suppliers participate in Medicare, CMS is proposing the following new standards: (1) suppliers must notify the NSC of any adverse legal action, change of location, or change of ownership within 30 days in order to be eligible to continue to receive Medicare payments; (2) suppliers would not be able to share a practice location with another Medicare supplier; (3) suppliers would have to maintain ordering and referral documentation for seven years; (4) suppliers who have a federal or state tax delinquency would not be able to obtain billing privileges or retain those that they already have; and (5) suppliers, except suppliers of prosthetics and orthotics, must be open to the public for at least 30 hours a week. In addition to the new standards, CMS proposes strengthening some existing standards, including: (1) requiring suppliers to maintain a location or office at an "appropriate site" where they store business records and retain documentation of orders and referrals; (2) mandating that the NSC be listed as a certificate holder on the comprehensive liability insurance policy; (3) expanding the existing limits on when and how a supplier may contact Medicare beneficiaries; and (4) limiting the use of cell phones, beeper numbers, pagers, and the exclusive use of answering machines and services as the primary phone number during posted hours of operation. Comments will be accepted until March 25th, and a final rule will be published later in the year.
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New DMEPOS supplier enrollment safeguards
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