COLUMBIA, S.C.--Palmetto GBA will continue as Medicare's National
Supplier Clearinghouse after CMS awarded the company another
one-year contract--with four one-year options that, if exercised,
would put the contract's value at $76 million.

Palmetto has held the NSC contract since 1993. Responsibilities
include issuing and recommending revocations of Medicare billing
privileges for suppliers "to ensure that only accredited, qualified
suppliers are enrolled in the Medicare program," according to a
press release. The NSC also is required to establish and maintain
programs to prevent and detect fraud.

"We are extremely proud to continue the important work of the NSC,"
said Bruce Hughes, Palmetto president. "CMS has demonstrated its
confidence that Palmetto GBA will carry out the responsibilities as
efficiently as possible while providing quality service to medical
equipment suppliers and the Medicare program.

"Our NSC employees work every day to make sure Medicare
beneficiaries can obtain the medical equipment and supplies they
need from suppliers that meet Medicare standards. We look forward
to performing these duties for years to come."

in Columbia, S.C., as an ndependent licensee of the Blue Cross and
Blue Shield Association, Palmetto GBA also has offices in South
Carolina, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois. Its principal business is
providing administrative services for the Medicare