Accreditation Countdown: If You Are Billing Medicare the Technical Component for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging, You Better Get Started

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If you are a physician, non-physician practitioner or Independent Diagnostic Testing Facility (IDTF) who supplies imaging services and submits claims for the Technical Component (TC) of Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) procedures to Medicare contractors (carriers and A/B Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs)), you should know that you must be accredited by Sunday, January 1, 2012.  If your facility uses an accredited mobile facility, and you bill for the TC of ADI, you must also be accredited. The accreditation requirement is attached to the biller of the services.

Those not accredited by that deadline will not be able to bill Medicare until they become accredited.

For those planning on seeking accreditation to continue performing the technical component of ADI services, know that accreditation is dependent on the demonstration of quality standards, including (but not limited to):

  • Qualifications and responsibilities of medical directors and supervising physicians;
  • Qualifications of medical personnel who are not physicians;
  • Procedures to ensure that equipment used meets performance specifications;
  • Procedures to ensure the safety of beneficiaries;
  • Procedures to ensure the safety of person who furnish the imaging; and
  • Establishment and maintenance of a quality assurance and quality control program to ensure the reliability, clarity and accuracy of the technical quality of the image.

Additionally, the accreditation process may include:

  • Unannounced, random site visits;
  • Review of phantom images;
  • Review of staff credentialing records and maintenance records;
  • Review of beneficiary complaints and patient records;
  • Review of quality data and ongoing data monitoring; and
  • Triennial surveys.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are ADIs?

A: ADI procedures are defined as MRI, CT and Nuclear Medicine/PET.

Q: As a supplier, what information will I need to transmit to CMS when I become accredited for the TC of advanced imaging?

A: The designated accreditation organization (AO) will transmit the findings of all accreditation decisions to CMS or its contractor when the decision becomes final. The information will include identifying information, the accreditation effective date and those modalities that are included in the accreditation.

Q: What is the process for denying claims after January 1, 2012?

A: Contractors will deny claims with a date of service on or after January 1, 2012, submitted for the TC of the ADI codes with denial code N290 (“Missing/incomplete/invalid rendering provider primary identifier.”) when the provider is not enrolled or accredited by a designated CMS accreditation organization. Contractors shall deny claims with codes submitted with a date of service on or after January 1, 2012, for the TC if the code is not listed on the provider’s eligibility file using claim adjustment reason code (CARC)185 (The rendering provider is not eligible to perform the service billed.)

Q: What happens if I am already accredited and will be up for re-accreditation in 2012?

A: In the case of a supplier that is accredited before January 1, 2010 by one of the designated accreditation organizations, the supplier is considered to have been accredited by an organization for the period such accreditation is in effect. The supplier would have had to remain in good standing and have an active accreditation on 1/1/2012 and must apply for reaccreditation within the time frame specified by the accreditation organization.

Q: Do hospitals have to receive imaging accreditation for the Technical Component (TC) of advanced imaging that is performed under the prospective payment system?

A: Hospitals are generally exempt from this requirement. In Section 1834(e) of the Social Security Act and codified in §414.68(a), it is stated that the imaging accreditation requirement applies only to suppliers of the TC of advanced diagnostic imaging services for which payment is made under the physician fee schedule. Since hospitals generally are not paid pursuant to such schedule, this accreditation rule is inapplicable. Thus, providers will list ADI equipment and CPT code information in their initial and updated enrollment applications.  Accreditation status will be provided to the Medicare Administrative Contractors by the ACO’s.

Q: Do the accreditation requirements apply to the radiologists that interpret the images?

A: The accreditation will apply only to the suppliers producing the images themselves, and not to the physician’s interpretation of the image. However, all interpreting physicians must meet the accreditation organizations published standards for qualifications and responsibilities of medical directors and supervising physicians, such as training in advanced diagnostic imaging services in a residency program and expertise obtained through experience or continuing medical education. Oral surgeons and dentists must be accredited if they perform the Technical Component of MRI, CT or Nuclear Medicine for the technical component of the codes that require ADI accreditation.

Q: Is Fluoroscopy covered under the new accreditation requirement?

A: MIPPA (Section 135 (a) of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008) expressly excludes from the accreditation requirement x-ray, ultrasound, screening and diagnostic mammography and fluoroscopy procedures. The law also excludes from the CMS accreditation requirement diagnostic and screening mammography which are subject to quality oversight by the Food and Drug Administration under the Mammography Quality Standards Act.

Q: How do I choose which AO to accredit my organization?

A: As a supplier, you will need to contact each of the three designated organizations to determine which accrediting organization meets your specific business model and philosophy for patient care. Some of the factors affecting your decision should be review of the quality standards, accreditation cycle, accreditation processes and price.

Q: Who are the accreditation organizations recognized by CMS to comply with the MIPPA accreditation requirement?

A: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved three national accreditation organizations – the American College of Radiology, the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission, and The Joint Commission – to provide accreditation services for suppliers of the TC of advanced diagnostic imaging procedures.

Q: What does it cost to be accredited?

A: The accreditation costs vary by accreditation organization. The average cost for one location and one modality is approximately $3,500 every 3 years.

Q: How do I contact the accreditation organizations (AOs)?

A: Call or e-mail each of the accreditation organizations to determine the one
that best fits your business needs. The accreditation organizations each have
their own published standards. Follow all of the application requirements so that your application is not delayed. It may take up to 5 months to be accredited. So, you really must start now to be sure to meet the January 1, 2012, date.To obtain additional information about the accreditation process, please contact the accreditation organizations shown below.

American College of Radiology (ACR)
1891 Preston White Drive
Reston, VA 20191-4326



Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC)
6021 University Boulevard, Suite 500
Ellicott City, MD 21043



The Joint Commission (TJC)
Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program
One Renaissance Boulevard
One Renaissance, IL 60181



For more information about the enrollment procedures, see the Medicare Learning Network® (MLN) article MM7177, “Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Enrollment Procedures,” available here.

If you are a physician or non-physician practitioner supplying the Technical
Component of ADI, see the MLN article MM7176, “Accreditation for Physicians and Non-Physician Practitioners Supplying the Technical Component (TC) of Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) Service,” available here.

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My Notes from the CMS Open Door Forum on May 19, 2010: PECOS, DMEPOS and Blue Ink on Paper Forms

CMS held a two-hour Open Door Forum today and there was so much good information shared that I thought I’d pass my notes from the call along to you.

New EFT Form

The revised EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) authorization form 588 is available here (pdf.) The old form will still work for a few months longer before it becomes invalid.

Changes to the Medicare Program Integrity Manual

The Program Integrity Manual (publication 100-08) will have revisions related to the changes in provider enrollment.  The online-only manual here will have content moved from Chapter 10 to Chapter 15 and the provider enrollment information will be easier to understand. 🙂

The Question on Everyone’s Lips

How do I know if I’m listed in PECOS (Provider Enrollment and Chain/Ownership System) and how do I know if others are listed in PECOS?  A new downloadable file is now available here (12,000 pages!) and everyone listed in this Ordering/Referring file has approved enrollment status.  Anyone not appearing on this list is not in approved status, or has opted completely out of the Medicare program.

Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

Beginning in January 2012, all diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and nuclear medicine imaging such as positron emission tomography (PET) must be performed in a facility accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), The Joint Commission (TJC) or the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) for the technical component of the test to be reimbursed by Medicare.  This rule does not apply to x-rays, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, mammography or DEXA scans and does not apply to any professional component.

Hospital Revalidations

Hospitals not enrolled in PECOS or not receiving EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) will be contacted by CMS in an attempt to get all hospitals revalidated.

PECOS (pronounced “pay-cose”)

CMS recommends that anyone with questions or just getting started in PECOS read the “Getting Started Guide”, of which there are two versions, both available here in pdf form.  One is for providers and one is for suppliers of DMEPOS (Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies.) You need to know your corporate structure before getting started because the business must enroll before the providers can assign benefits to the business.  The 855I is for individual/solos providers and the 855B is for non-individuals (multiple owners) billing Medicare Part B and assigning benefits to a legal entity/corporation.  Dentists and pediatricians who order or refer services for Medicare patients are required to have an enrollment record in the PECOS. Residents and interns are exempt from the enrollment requirement, but an attending physician needs to be identified on the claim when a service is ordered or referred. The main page for enrollment is https://www.cms.gov/MedicareProviderSupEnroll/

Two Ways to Get Into PECOS

One is to complete the paper form in BLUE INK (and if time is of the essence CMS suggests that you use the paper form) and let the MAC enter it into PECOS for you.  The other is to use the internet-PECOS system directly, and sign, date and mail the certification statement to complete the process.  Submit the participation form or EFT form if required.  The certification form for the paper process is NOT the same as the certification from for the internet-PECOS process.

What is the 30-day rule?

The 30-day rule states that you can bill for services provided to Medicare patients up to 30 days prior to your filing date.  The filing date is the date your enrollment is accepted, not the date you mailed it.  Online it will say “Status Approved”, and you will receive an email, and then a letter confirming it. You will appear on the Ordering/Referring file on the CMS website.

What happens to payments for patients that were referred by a provider not enrolled on PECOS?

Even though you are enrolled, if the referring physician is not enrolled, you will not be paid for that patient’s services.  However, if that referrer becomes enrolled, you can resubmit the claim and it will be paid.

What happens on July 6, 2010? When does this happen?

July 6, 2010 The compliance date for Part A providers (hospitals, skilled nursing homes and home health agencies) and Part B providers (physicians, ambulance) must be enrolled in PECOS as ordering/referring physicians for payments to be made has been delayed indefinitely!

What happens on July 13, 2010?

DMEPOS (pronounced “demmy-pos”) providers must be enrolled in PECOS to receive Medicare payments.

What should be done if a provider leaves a group?

The provider or his Authorized Official (CEO, CFO, Manager) should file a 855R or make the change in PECOS as soon as possible.

Why do provider offices still request UPINs from our office?

Unclear.  UPINs were no longer required as of May 23, 2008.  The NPI is the only number accepted on Medicare claims.

Should the information submitted on a 855 be the same information in PECOS?

Yes, if it isn’t, contact the Help Desk.  Their toll-free number is 1-866-484-8049 and their e-mail address is eussupport@cgi.com.

For more information on the nuts and bolts of PECOS, see my post here.