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CMS Admits New Surety Bond and Accreditation Requirement for Home Medical Equipment Suppliers Creating Patient Access Issues
Date:11/3/2009

Medicare Beneficiaries in Eight Montana Counties May Be Forced to Pay Full Costs for Supplies if They Have No Access to a Medicare Approved Supplier

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an email sent to Montana home equipment suppliers on October 30th, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) official admitted there are "areas within Montana, a Medicare beneficiary may experience supplier access issues in obtaining certain" durable medical equipment and supplies. CMS official Lucretia James further notes patient access problems are due to a shortage of suppliers meeting the agency's new surety bond and accreditation requirements. She added, "some have chosen not to stay enrolled."

The email states Medicare patients may have experienced problems accessing oxygen, enteral nutrition (tube feeding), parenteral (intravenous nutrition), and power wheelchairs in eight Montana counties, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, Phillips, Musselshell, Fergus, Stillwater, and Carbon. In addition to this burgeoning access problem, Medicare patients will be penalized financially if they use a supplier they've being going to for years, which doesn't meet the new requirements, but may be the only supplier in their area. James warns, "If a beneficiary continues to get supplies from a supplier who has not met these requirements, Medicare won't pay and the beneficiary may have to pay the full cost for the supplies."

"While CMS claims these requirements were aimed at preventing fraud and increasing patient quality standards, it's clear the $50,000 surety bond mandate per store combined with up to a $25,000 accreditation cost is a financial burden too great for many small independent suppliers to shoulder. These well-intended, but misguided policies are clearly reducing the number of qualified suppliers to serve patients, thereby restricting patient access to services and equipment in Montana and who knows how many other stat
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SOURCE National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES)
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