CMS Announces National DMEPOS Accreditation Organizations
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced the names of 11 accreditation organizations that will accredit national suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) for new quality standards under Medicare Part B.
The following organizations have received authority to accredit DMEPOS suppliers seeking to participate in the Medicare program:
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
- Community Health Accreditation Program
- Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation
- National Board of Accreditation for Orthotic Suppliers (a newly formed organization of the American Society of Hand Therapists in coordination with the Hand Therapy Certification Commission)
- Board of Certification in Pedorthics
- Accreditation Commission for Healthcare, Inc.
- Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
- Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
- American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc.
- The Compliance Team, Inc.
CMS stated that it will instruct accrediting organizations to focus first on accrediting suppliers located in the initial group of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) chosen for the Medicare competitive bidding program.
How the Announcement Affects Occupational Therapists
The Accreditation rule, released on August 2, 2006, requires that occupational therapists (OTs), physicians, physical therapists, and others who supply DMEPOS will have to be accredited by a CMS-approved accreditation organization in order to bill Part B of the Medicare program for DMEPOS. This means that in order to bill either custom-fabricated or pre-fabricated orthotics (Level II HCPCS codes) to Medicare, OTs must have a separate accreditation as a supplier. This rule does not affect an OT's ability to provide treatment such as orthotics management and to bill using CPT codes.
CMS continues to state that it wants to minimize the burden for suppliers who have already been accredited, Medicare-certified, and/or licensed under state law. Accordingly, CMS will direct accreditation organizations to consider any previous accreditation, certification, and/or licensure that is relevant to meeting DMEPOS quality standards during the survey process.
Many Options Exist for Occupational Therapists
OTs who supply orthotics have many options among the above-listed accreditation organizations for orthotics-specific accreditation. In fact, AOTA has been working closely with several of the approved accreditation organizations to ensure that OTs have many accreditation options under this process, and to ensure that the supplier quality standards offered by these groups gives licensed therapists special considerations as professionals. The groups with which AOTA has worked closely include:
- Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
- National Board of Accreditation for Orthotic Suppliers (NBAOS)
- Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP)
- Accreditation Commission for Healthcare, Inc. (ACHC)
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
AOTA will continue to work to assure that licensed therapists who supply orthotics will be given special considerations as professionals and will not be required to fulfill all the burdens of accreditation required of non-licensed DMEPOS suppliers. For more information on supplier accreditation and organization contacts, see the CMS Web site.