The ability to offer in-home medical equipment can increase patient satisfaction and your company’s bottom line. However, before you can submit a Medicare enrollment application to the National Supplier Clearinghouse, you’ll need an accreditation. This licensing process follows standards established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

Get the Facts

According to the CMS, accreditation a complex and comprehensive process that requires thorough preparation. Therefore, reviewing licensing requirements, which the CMS refers to as quality standards, in the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies standards handbook is a good starting point. The book is available as a free download on the CMS website. The first section covers administration, financial management, human resources management, consumer services, performance management, product safety and information management standards. The second lays out intake and assessment, delivery and set-up, training and instruction, and patient follow-up requirements.

Process the Process

Choose one of the 10 CMS-authorized accreditation agencies to work with. Information about each agency is available on the CMS website. Regardless of which agency you choose, the licensing steps are the same. They include a pre-application phase, an application review and an unannounced on-site inspection. Accreditation can take up to nine months for an application without errors or inspection deficiencies. Each license is valid for three years and there are no annual fees.

Application Procedures

During the pre-application phase you will work with the accreditation agency to make sure your company meets CMS quality standards. Following an intensive review, the agency will determine whether you need to make changes, such as updating or creating new policies and procedures, conducting employee training or modifying existing services. After identifying and implementing any necessary changes, it's time to submit an application containing detailed information about your business, a preliminary evidence report issued by the accreditation agency, a signed accreditation agreement and the required deposit.

On-Site Inspection

While you can’t schedule a specific date for an on-site inspection, you can identify as many as 10 black-out dates. A surveyor from the accreditation agency will tour your facility and may interview one or more employees to verify the information in your application and the preliminary evidence report. The surveyor will also review employee and patient records, financial statements and billing records, service contracts, risk management standards and your policies and procedures manual. It will take about two months from the inspection date to get your license provided all goes well.