The CMS said it will propose new standards for durable medical equipment suppliers after a report found that Medicare was robbed of more than $900 million in federal fiscal 2004 by fraudulent providers of wheelchairs, prosthetics and other DME. Palmetto Government Benefits Administrator, Columbia, S.C., which received $11.4 million from the CMS in 2004 to verify that DME suppliers met Medicare standards, failed to check the credentials of at least 22 unlicensed providers and failed to inspect at least 605 suppliers, the Government Accountability Office said in its report. Palmetto officials could not be reached for comment at deadline. The GAO recommended that the CMS demand Palmetto make more frequent on-site inspections and check DME suppliers' licenses annually. In addition, Medicare's DME standards are too weak to ensure supplier integrity, the GAO said. The CMS concurred with most of the GAO's recommendations and said it will propose new DME standards this year, with proposed regulations for the standards due out next year. Medicare spent $8.8 billion on DME for beneficiaries in federal fiscal 2004. Read the report. -- by Mark Taylor
Medicare to set new DME standards to fight fraud
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