Feb. 20 Open Door: No 2nd-Round NCB ZIP Codes Yet

The Feb. 20 Open Door Forum, hosted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), revealed no significant new information for DMEPOS suppliers, even as the industry awaits announcements about the first and second rounds of competitive bidding.

CMS' Joel Kaiser, in presenting a competitive bidding update, said, "There's really nothing specific to report for this month... We are nearing the end of the evaluation of the bids submitted under the first round, and we will begin offering contracts in association with those bids in the very near future."

In response to a question from a call-in participant who asked when the second-round competitive bidding ZIP codes would be announced, Kaiser said, "We announced at the time that we announced the MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) for round two that the national competitive bidding areas would be furnished in the spring of 2008. So sometime in the next couple of months, we'll be issuing those specific ZIP codes that are associated with those competitive bidding areas."

On the accreditation front, CMS' Sandra Bastinelli continued to urge DME suppliers to start the accreditation process, and said the accrediting organizations are currently reporting they aren't busy. Accreditation will be mandatory for DME suppliers who want to bill Medicare Part B.

"If you know that you're competitively bidding, because the 70 MSAs were already released awhile ago, you should be calling the accrediting organizations for an application and preparing your company for their on-site surveys," Bastinelli said.

"I understand from our 10 deemed accrediting organizations, they are not busy with new applications, which is not a good sign," she added. "Because they should be busy right now... Now we have 70 MSAs. If you do the math, that means there's going to be a lot more suppliers wanting to get accredited for competitive bidding. You do have all the information you need to get started... you don't need to wait for any additional deadline announcements in order to begin the accreditation process. Please note that there will be accreditors that will not be able to take your application and will not be able to accredit you at the last minute."

Bastinelli also noted that CMS has made minor revisions to portions of the DMEPOS supplier quality standards, and that those revised portions are open for public comment till March 18. To view the document, go to www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareProviderSupEnroll/03_DeemedAccreditationOrganizations.asp#TopOfPage

Only the revised portions are open for public comment, Bastinelli said, adding that CMS will not consider comments on the other sections.

The Feb. 20 Open Door Forum drew 377 participants via phone, with additional participants who attended in person. The next DMEPOS Open Door Forum is scheduled for April 2. To join a listserv that will alert you to upcoming Open Door Forums and provide you with information on how to participate in person or via teleconference, go to www.cms.hhs.gov/opendoorforums and click on Home Health, Hospice and Durable Medical Equipment Open Door Forum in the left navigation bar.

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