The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently selected 11 national organizations to accredit suppliers of DMEPOS (durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies) under Medicare Part B.
DMEPOS suppliers will have to meet new accreditation standards in order to bill the Medicare Part B program under a final rule announced in August by CMS.
William Popomaronis, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) director of pharmacy specialty services, told Drug Topics that NCPA plans to post information on its Web site to help pharmacists understand the pros and consof each of the 11 accreditors. R.Ph.s must understand who all of the players are and what their individual value propositions are in order to decide which organization best serves their business, he said. While NCPA doesn't endorse any particular accreditor, Popomaronis advised R.Ph.s to ask these questions before making their selection:
Popomaronis explained the offerings of four of these organizations.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy would appeal to pharmacies that provide inexpensive, routinely purchased cash-and-carry DME, such as glucose test strips ("pharmacy DMEPOS light"). The cost for that accreditation is going to be significantly less than what other accreditors are charging, he said.
Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation, a subsidiary of VGM, has a "pharmacist-friendly program" that accredits a facility for all DMEPOS sold, including oxygen. VGM has formed a small supplier network (Homecare Providers of America) for members interested in participating in DME Medicare competitive bidding, which aggregates small suppliers and bids on their behalf.
The advantage of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) as an accreditor is that it has "strong inroads with hospitals and managed care."
The American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABC) and Board of Certification in Pedorthics (BCP) provide a pharmacy DMEPOS-light product, facility accreditation, and individual credentialing in areas such as therapeutic shoes.
Popomaronis said that according to an NCPA survey, the cost of accreditation ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. An estimated 70 hours and $2,250 will be needed to fill out the bid application. "When we asked pharmacists in the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas whether they will participate in competitive bidding, less than 32% said they would. Since pharmacies have one out of every three supplier numbers, there's a concern that beneficiaries are not going to have convenient access to the items they need."