Medical suppliers who wish to distribute durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) must apply for and receive accreditation that verifies the supplier meets the quality standards set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare and Medicaid are both health care programs that provide goods and services to the elderly, the disabled, and those who can’t afford their own medical coverage.
How to receive DMEPOS accreditation
When seeking accreditation, the first step is to select an accreditation organization approved by CMS to guide the applicant through the process. Accreditation organizations will also verify whether or not applicants meet the standards required the CMS.
Standards to be met by applicants include compliance with federal and state licensure requirements and providing complete and accurate information on the DMEPOS supplier application. A complete list of standards can be found here.
Once any necessary changes have been made to the application materials, the applicant must submit their application and required documents to the organization. The accreditation organization will look over the submission and verify that all credentials are properly in place. This part of the application process may take 4 to 6 months.
After reviewing the application and any additional materials, the accreditation organization will visit the applicant’s place of operation unannounced to conduct a survey. A surveyor from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy will visit the applicant to determine whether they meet all required standards. Assuming all standards are met, the accreditation organization will report the supplier’s accreditation to the National Supplier Clearinghouse, which is the organization that issues and revokes billing privileges for DMEPOS suppliers. If the company complies with all required standards, they will receive accreditation. If it does not meet the standards, or falsified information is found on the application, accreditation will be denied.
Suppliers must also purchase a DMEPOS surety bond to become a fully functioning supplier of durable medical equipment. Suppliers must obtain a $50,000 bond for each location at which they operate, and the bonds must be submitted to the Supplier Clearinghouse. DMEPOS bonds protect individuals who purchase medical supplies from getting taken advantage of by suppliers. It guarantees the legitimacy of claims submitted to Medicaid, thus cracking down on fraud on the part of the supplier. The bond also guarantees money is available to any parties harmed by the supplier’s failure to adhere to all rules and regulations.
Specifics of Applying for Accreditation
The entire process of receiving accreditation—from the time the application is submitted until the accreditation organization reports to the NSC—may take as long as nine months. After the initial unannounced visit, the accreditation organization will conduct visits every three years to evaluate the facility conditions.
Should one medical supply company choose to merge with another, undergo acquisition, or be sold, it is important to note that the accreditation cannot simply be transferred to the new company. Instead, the supplier must report to the accreditation organization and National Supplier Clearinghouse at least 10 days prior to any merger, sale, or acquisition. The accreditation and supplier number for the company being acquired or sold will be revoked and the process must be undertaken by the new company.
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