Beginning in 2019, all dentists who provide durable medical equipment are required by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to obtain DMEPOS surety bonds. If this applies to you, learn everything you need to know about this important requirement with our easy overview.
What is a DMEPOS Surety Bond?
DMEPOS stands for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies. This type of bond holds dentists accountable if the CMS makes an overpayment for poor-quality or additional medical equipment. The surety company that issues the DMEPOS bond pays the CMS the necessary amount up to the total bond limit in case of bond claims. Then the surety company attempts to collect that amount from the dentist, who is ultimately financially responsible.
Why Are Dentists Required to Have DMEPOS Bonds?
Previously, many kinds of medical equipment suppliers were required to carry this bond, but not dentists. The rule was only recently changed because dentists are using more medical equipment as part of their practice. Sleep apnea devices, for instance, are prescribed by dentists, as well as prosthetics, orthodontics, and oral appliances. All of these are considered medical equipment and are regularly paid for as part of public healthcare programs. In order to protect the taxpayers who fund these programs, dentists must have DMEPOS surety bonds to ensure they’re working fairly with the CMS and providing quality medical equipment to patients.
What Happens Without the Required Bond?
The penalty for operating without the required surety bond is quite severe, underlining why this bond is so important for all applicable dentists to have. Doctors found to be non-compliant could have their Medicare Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN) deactivated, effectively eliminating their ability to service Medicare patients. It may also become impossible to obtain supplies from a DMEPOS supplier, further limiting your practice. Financial fines are possible as well if medical equipment ever hurts a patient. Dentists should keep in mind that the cost of fully-compliant DMEPOS bonds is far less than the cost of operating without one.
Do All Dentists Need a DMEPOS Bond?
Not necessarily. This bond requirement applies only to medical equipment and not general dentistry, so if your practice does not supply any equipment, you may not need a bond. The number of exempt dentists is small, but they do exist. Thankfully, the CMS is helping by sending letters to every dentist who needs to obtain a bond. Dentists have 60 days to secure a bond after receiving the letter. If you have not received this letter, you likely don’t need a bond. The CMS aims to have all dentists bonded by Q3 of 2019, after which they will begin active enforcement of this new rule.
What are the DMEPOS Bond Requirements?
In order to be compliant with the CMS, dentists must obtain bonds from a surety company that appears on the list of U.S. Department of Treasury Authorized Surety companies. Additionally, the amount of the bond must be at least $50,000, but if you have more than one National Provider Identifier the requirement can be higher. As long as your bond meets these two criteria, it’s likely compliant.
How Much Does a Bond Cost?
The amount you pay is much less than the total $50,000 value of the bond. The rate is based on your credit and possibly the financial performance of your dental practice as well. Typically, poor credit leads to higher rates, but it’s not necessarily a disqualifying factor. Premiums for DMEPOS bonds can vary from 1% to 3% of the bond total. This amount needs to be paid upfront and again when the bond is renewed annually.
How Does the Bond Application Work?
All you need to do is complete our simple online bond applications. Designate that you’re looking to obtain a DMEPOS surety bond in the total of $50,000 (or higher if necessary). In some instances, financial documentation may be required as well. After you’ve gotten approved and payed your first year of premiums, you will receive a form from your surety company outlining the terms of the bond. This form must contain specific language according to CMS requirements, so make sure you work with a surety company that has a long history issuing DMEPOS bonds.
Why Work With Viking Bond Service?
Viking Bond Service is committed to helping dentists get the surety bonds they require as quickly, easily, and cost-effectively as possible. After completing a bond application, our team will help you understand what kind of surety bond you need, and exactly how much you will pay. We always attempt to find the best rate possible for any bond request so you can avoid penalties and high premiums. Here’s the next steps:
- Take a few minutes to complete our free online bond application.
- Contact us at 1-888-278-7389 with all your questions and queries.
Once you reach out to Viking Bond Service, you’re on track for full-compliance.