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Medicare Anti-Fraud Measures are Way Overdue, Says Durable Medical Equipment Industry
Date:1/8/2008

Statement by the American Association for Homecare

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association for Homecare welcomes and supports efforts to crack down on Medicare fraud announced today in another of a series of press conferences held by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the same subject. The Association continues to work with federal agencies and Congress to prevent fraudulent activity in the durable medical equipment (DME) sector. At the same time, it's important to note that Medicare has failed to effectively exercise its already ample authority to combat fraud and abuse. It is time for CMS to shine a spotlight on its own processes with respect to its ability to ensure the integrity of Medicare.

Since the early 1990's, the durable medical equipment industry has been pushing Congress and Medicare to impose provider accreditation requirements for durable medical equipment suppliers. Accreditation is one time-tested way of distinguishing legitimate businesses from fraudulent entities. While it took Congress until 2003 to pass a law mandating accreditation, it wasn't until several weeks ago that Medicare actually indicated the date by which DME suppliers must be accredited--and that date is not until September 30, 2009. Moreover, in 2006, the American Association for Homecare recommended that CMS adopt quality standards for DME that were far more stringent than those the agency actually adopted in its final standards issued in November 2006.

The Association questions why it has taken Medicare so long to impose effective measures to prevent fraud.

Even before the Medicare program initiated new quality standards and accreditation requirements under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the Medicare program was supposed to conduct an unannounced facility site visit before granting a Medicare supplier number to providers of durable medical equipment. The Medicare program als
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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