On January 25, 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would expand the enrollment requirements that suppliers of DME, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) must meet to establish and maintain Medicare billing privileges. Most notably, the rule would prohibit DMEPOS suppliers from sharing a practice location with another Medicare supplier, including a physician group or another DMEPOS supplier, although CMS is soliciting comments on whether it should establish an exception for physicians and nonphysician practitioners in certain circumstances.

CMS also is proposing several new standards, including requirements that suppliers: be open to the public at least 30 hours per week (except for certain suppliers of custom-made or -fitted orthotics and prosthetics); obtain oxygen from a state-licensed oxygen supplier in states that license oxygen suppliers; and not have an Internal Revenue Service or state taxing authority tax delinquency. In addition, the rule would clarify a number of existing requirements, including: clarifying that the DMEPOS supplier itself must be licensed to provide licensed services (i.e., it cannot contract with another individual or entity to provide the licensed service); establishing additional physical facility standards that suppliers must meet and specifying that “closed door” businesses (i.e., pharmacies/suppliers providing services only to beneficiaries residing in a nursing home) must comply with these standards; and excluding the use of cell phones and pagers for receiving public calls during business hours. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until March 25, 2008.