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Mandatory Accreditation Delayed Until September 2009

PMC Commends CMS for Setting Date but Fear that Program Integrity will be Needlessly Compromised in the Interim

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Power Mobility Coalition (PMC) today applauded the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for setting a date certain when all Medicare DMEPOS suppliers need to be accredited, but expressed concern that it will take close to two years for the requirement to be fully implemented. The PMC, however, further commends CMS for recognizing the need to deploy stronger measures that will better scrutinize suppliers participating in the Medicare program, ensure program integrity and safeguard taxpayer resources.

CMS recently announced that all DMEPOS suppliers need to be accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation body by September 31, 2009 or else their Medicare billing privileges would be revoked. New suppliers must be accredited by January 1, 2009 and suppliers who are applying to participate in the Medicare program after March 1, 2008 must supply proof of accreditation with their application. As part of the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003, Congress authorized CMS to establish new quality standards and require accreditation of all Medicare DMEPOS suppliers.

Yet, four years after passage of the MMA and more than a year after development of new quality standards for DMEPOS suppliers, CMS will still allow non-accredited suppliers to serve Medicare beneficiaries for close to another two years. As PMC Director Eric Sokol stated, "For the past year, CMS has had all the tools at their disposal to implement mandatory accreditation. Clearly, DMEPOS suppliers understand the new work load that will be placed on the nationally recognized accreditation bodies. But CMS has been slow in fully implementing the accreditation requirement and extending the deadline to September 2009 is just too long a period of time and will needlessly expose the Medicare program to unscrupulous actors."

In the interim, CMS has used concerns over fraud to cut reimbursement to DMEPOS suppliers and has needlessly spent millions in scarce Medicare resources to "pay then chase" unscrupulous actors who likely would not have been permitted into the program if they were subjected to mandatory accreditation. As PMC Counsel Stephen Azia explains, "All legitimate DMEPOS suppliers have an interest in ridding the Medicare program of bad actors, and accreditation is a powerful tool in helping eradicate this scourge that takes advantage of unsuspecting beneficiaries, costs the Medicare program money and taints all lawful suppliers who are providing quality, life-enhancing DME to eligible beneficiaries."

The Power Mobility Coalition (PMC) is a nationwide association of manufacturers and suppliers of motorized wheelchairs and power operated vehicles based in Washington, DC.

Contact: Eric Sokol


SOURCE The Power Mobility Coalition
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