CMS Publishes DMEPOS Supplier Quality Standards

The new quality standards for DME suppliers were released this week, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced it was accepting applications from accrediting organizations that want to participate in the DME supplier accreditation process.

The quality standards are part of the bigger competitive bidding picture, since suppliers wishing to submit bids must be accredited. In an Open Door Forum held August 15, CMS' Linda Smith said the offices had received more than 5,600 comments in response the draft quality standards released in Sept. 2005 and taken those comments into account when making modifications.

To download a pdf of the standards ù in a much shorter (14-page) format than the draft version ù go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CompetitiveAcqforDMEPOS/04_New_Quality_Standards.asp.

Among the topics discussed in the quality standards are administration, financial management, human resources and consumer services, such as providing "clear instructions related to the use, maintenance, and potential hazards of equipment and items" when providing equipment. The quality standards also require suppliers to have a system to measure "consumer services, billing practices and adverse events" such as equipment malfunctions.

For businesses supplying complex rehab and assistive technology equipment, the new standards require a supplier to "employ at least one qualified Rehab Technology Supplier (RTS) or be certified as a RTS per location." To be considered a qualified RTS, the rehab professional must be a Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS), an Assistive Technology Supplier (ATS) or an Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP). The latter two designations indicate the rehab professional has passed RESNA's (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) ATS or ATP exam. A CRTS has passed the RESNA ATP exam and is also a member of the National Registry of Rehab Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) in good standing.

Complex rehab/assistive technology suppliers are also required to provide appropriate trial equipment when needed; provide private, clean and safe rooms for fittings and evaluations, maintain a repair shop on the premises or nearby and employ at least one factory-trained technician familiar with rehab products, clients and services.

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