BALTIMORE--With less than a year before competitive bidding is
scheduled to begin, CMS has realeased the names of 11 organizations
approved to accredit DMEPOS suppliers.

The list includes all of the industry's established accrediting
bodies, as well as some specialty accreditors, such as those that
focus on orthotics suppliers.

The following have been given "deeming authority" by CMS to
accredit suppliers as meeting Medicare-issued quality

  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
  • Community Health Accreditation Program
  • Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation
  • National Board of Accreditation for Orthotic Suppliers
  • Board of Certification in Pedorthics
  • Accreditation Commission for Healthcare
  • Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification
  • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
  • American Board for Certification in Orthotics and
  • The Compliance Team

All suppliers who plan on participating in Medicare DME
competitive bidding, which will begin in 10 to-be-named cities in
October next year, must be accredited. In a recent CMS Open Door
session, agency officials suggested those companies should be
accredited by early 2007.

Because of the short timeframe, CMS has asked the accreditation
organizations to give preference to providers in the competitive
bidding areas that are chosen. But as mandated under the Medicare
Modernization Act, at some future point the accreditation
requirement will extend to all Part B suppliers who bill the
Medicare program.

Although there has been a flurry of accreditation activity over
the past year, one industry source estimates the number of
unaccredited companies remaining could be "thousands and
thousands." In a HomeCare magazine survey conducted last
month, 52 percent of participating HME providers said they are
currently accredited, while 48 percent said they are not.

According to a release issued by CMS, the agency hopes to
minimize the burden on suppliers by allowing accreditors to
consider previous accreditation, Medicare certification and
licensure that would indicate its quality standards are being met.
Most of the approved organizations will be able to accredit
national, local and mail-order suppliers, and some said they have
been gearing up for the DME accreditation mandate by streamlining
procedures and adding new surveyors.

CMS has scheduled a meeting with the newly approved accreditors
for Dec. 18, where several said they expect to discuss timeframes,
details of exactly what the agency expects of suppliers who are
already accredited and other questions.

To gain approval, all of the organizations had to mesh their
standards with those issued by CMS in August (see target="_blank">HomeCare Monday, Aug. 21). But some
accreditors also have retained portions of their previous
requirements along with the new CMS-based programs.

According to Sherry Hedrick, director of clinical compliance and
accreditation for ACHC, the accreditor's program closely follows
the CMS standards but also includes some standards that mainly come
from state requirements.

"There were a handful of standards that we did keep that were a
step above the quality standards that CMS released, but we do not
think that will cause any problems for providers," she said. "Even
in the past, most of the providers we were accrediting were meeting
those standards anyway because they were good business

Maryann Popovich, executive director, home care accredition
program, said JCAHO has more extensive standards in a number of
areas, including emergency preparedness, infection control and
patient safety.

"We have some other policies and procedures and requirements for
our medical equipment organizations that we wanted to stay as
requirements for our accreditation which will distinguish our
organization from simply meeting the CMS quality standards," she

For contacts and information about what each organization is
approved to accredit, visit target="_blank">