CMS announced in mid March that HME providers participating in round two of its competitive bidding program must apply to be accredited by May 14 and must have successfully completed the accreditation process by Oct. 31.
As we reported in our February issue, CMS announced the 70 MSAs for the second round of competitive bidding, but as of press time it has yet to announce the zip codes for those MSAs.
CMS advised providers in a low-key, late-Friday update to its DMEPOS Accreditation page that they “must be accredited before this date to be awarded a contract. Suppliers should apply for accreditation immediately to allow adequate time to process their applications.”
The tight accreditation deadlines drew immediate skepticism over their feasibility. “Since at last count there were about 2,200 accredited companies in the country, then almost 8,000 would need to be accredited by October 31,” said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES, basing his estimates on a similar number of bidders as the 10 MSAs in round one. “That also means that there must be that many applications filed with the 10 accrediting bodies. Assuming that each get an equal share, which in unlikely, three or four of these agencies will likely have to process several thousand applications in the next 56 days.”
He added that even if 8,000 providers in those MSAs were applied and ready for survey by May 14, it would take surveyors working seven days a week and completing as many as 20 surveys a day in order to finish all the surveys in the 158 days leading up to Oct. 31.
Stanfield noted that while his math is based on assumptions, “but you can readily see that it is unlikely that these 10 agencies can come even close to accreditation that many companies in the allotted time frame.” He added that “CMS, using unrealistic assumptions, are either expecting miracles or they are counting on the process to eliminate thousands of companies from Medicare, virtually all of which will be small businesses.”