In the last three weeks I’ve had to replace both my laptop and my cell phone. While some data can be transferred easily from one device to another, other information and passwords need to be updated manually, a process that can take several hours. My situation calls to mind one of the problems accreditors constantly face with communication and their accredited suppliers.
Your accreditor is not just the entity who visits you every few years, but also a representative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and therefore responsible for communicating important information from CMS to you. Making sure they can always reach you is of paramount importance.
When accreditation was voluntary, CMS had no say in your accreditor’s activities. Now CMS holds the accreditor responsible for many tasks, including monitoring the items you are accredited to provide, the date you commence re-accreditation activities, the date you are actually re-accredited and more.
CMS has also charged accreditors with conveying important information to you, such as the recent standards implemented for Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) products. Additionally, if CMS receives a complaint about a supplier from the community or about irregular billing information from the DME MAC, CMS may contact the accreditor to investigate the problem with the supplier. And here is where the challenge can occur.
Often the contact information and e-mail address that the accreditor has on file for the supplier is the person who completed the accreditation activities or the staff member who is designated as the accreditation contact, not the business owner. The e-mail address your accreditor has on file is not just for reaccreditation activities, but also to convey any vital communication the supplier needs to know throughout the accreditation period, as well as newsletters and/or general information bulletins. When the accreditation contact is no longer employed by the organization, it is often unknown to your accreditor and you could be missing important information. In this case e-mails sent by your accreditor may not be received by the right people, or even by the organization. Too often a supplier does not have a terminated employee’s e-mails forwarded to a different staff member or program an auto-reply message that the person is no longer with the organization. If these e-mails go into cyberspace, the accreditor is unaware that they are not being received and you could be missing critical information.