Winter Haven FL — A number of pharmacies and home medical equipment (HME) companies have contracted with Oxebridge, pushing ahead to meet a mandatory deadline for accreditation to Medicare standards.
As decreed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, all providers of home medical equipment — also called DMEPOS for “durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies” — must become third-party accredited to CMS standards by 2009. Unlike other management system standard certification schemes, like ISO 9001, CMS does not issue the final standard, but allows CMS-approved accrediting bodies to develop their own standards, based on CMS minimum requirements, and then provide accreditation auditing against those. HME companies then contract with one of these accrediting bodies, and undergo an audit once they have implemented the standards.
One accrediting body, the Accreditation Council for Healthcare (ACHC), has issued a January 31 deadline for HME companies to enroll in their system, which will enable ACHC auditors to have enough time to audit companies in time for the CMS deadline. Oxebridge has designed its CMS Accreditation Preparation program around the specific standards of ACHC.
Responding to the sudden deadline, a number of pharmacies and HME companies are utilizing Oxebridge’s proprietary, rapid-paced CMS Accreditaton Prep program to meet the January 31st ACHC deadline. These include:
- OxyTech of Sparks NV, a supplier of oxygen concentrators and sleep therapy devices.
- TechMed Supply of Flowood MS, a fitter and supplier of non-custom orthotics and mobility aids.
- In-Step Mobility Products of Skokie IL, manufacturer and seller of the U-Step Walker (TM) and other medical devices.
- Ernst Pharmacy of Natchez MS, a provider of diabetic supplies.
- McQuade’s Marketplace Pharmacies, of Westerly RI and Mystic CT, offering a range of HME supplies.
Oxebridge developed a low-cost implementation program to address the demands of the CMS mandate, as well as the controversial deadlines established by the agency. Originally, CMS accreditation was mandated as part of an effort to reduce costs through a “competitive bidding” process, but the US Congress stepped into halt the competitive bidding mandate, forcing further study. CMS declined to halt or move its accreditation deadlines, however. Companies failing to achieve CMS accreditation will likely be disallowed from obtaining reimbursements under Medicare Part B in the future.
To date, all Oxebridge CMS Accreditation Preparation clients have achieved accreditation. Oxebridge has no financial or other relationship with ACHC, and is one of the only consulting companies that is independent of an auditing body.