All Medicare suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) must obtain and maintain a surety bond of at least $50,000 to participate in the Medicare program. A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recent transmittal, effective February 21, clarifies this requirement and describes the procedures that DME Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) must follow when making claims against a provider’s surety bond.
Under 42 CFR § 424.57(d)(5)(i), a surety is liable to CMS for 1) the amount of any unpaid claim, plus accrued interest, for which the supplier of DMEPOS is responsible, and 2) the amount of any unpaid claim, civil monetary penalty (CMP) or assessment imposed by CMS or the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on the DMEPOS supplier, plus interest.
First, the DME MACs will notify the surety that payment of a claim must be made to CMS within 30 days. The letter must 1) identify the specific amount to be paid, 2) be accompanied by “sufficient evidence” of the unpaid claim, 3) state that payment shall be made via check or money order and that the Payee shall be the DME MAC, and 4) identify the address to which payment shall be sent. The DME MAC will notify the supplier when payment has been made.
DMEPOS suppliers must then obtain an additional surety bond within 30 calendar days of that letter, and submit to the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) additional coverage of an amount that equals or, in the case of a final adverse action, exceeds $50,000. Suppliers must be aware that failure to submit such additional surety bond coverage within 30 days may result in the NSC revoking the supplier’s Medicare billing privileges.
If the DMEPOS supplier successfully appeals, CMS will notify the surety via letter and repay the surety within 30 days. Although a supplier may want to avoid the necessity of securing an additional surety bond, the DMEPOS appeals process may take longer than 30 days and prudent DMEPOS suppliers should obtain additional coverage to ensure continued Medicare billing privileges.
Wachler & Associates has served healthcare providers nationwide for over 25 years in a variety of issues, including DME Audits and all areas of Medicare Compliance.