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Surety bonds required for dentists who are equipment suppliers

June 17, 2019 Baltimore — Despite the ADA voicing its concerns and opposition to this requirement, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will require dentists who are suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies to obtain a $50,000 surety bond per office location.

Before 2019, such dentists were exempt from the rule.

The requirement will only affect dentists who have enrolled as equipment suppliers, which is about 1,800 dentists, according to CMS.  Letters were mailed to those dentists the week of June 3 by the National Supplier Clearinghouse, the organizational entity responsible for issuing or revoking Medicare billing privileges for suppliers.

Dentists who are enrolled in Medicare as suppliers will have to comply within 90 calendar days of receipt of notification from CMS, according to the letter.

Dentists who believe they are entitled to an exception may provide documentation to CMS that they are prescribing the items they are supplying to Medicare beneficiaries as part of their "physician service" and subject to other Medicare requirements regarding prescribing and filling equipment and supplies. However, CMS said the surety bond exception only extends to physicians who are both prescribing and filling the product in the course of their own "physician service," according to the National Supplier Clearinghouse.

Medicare will not reimburse a dentist for supplying an oral sleep apnea device to a Medicare beneficiary unless the requirements of Local Coverage Determination 33611 are met. LCD 33611 includes several criteria, including a criterion that the device is prescribed by a "physician." CMS said that in this context the term physician does not include a dentist.

For more information, contact the National Supplier Clearinghouse at 1-803-735-1034 or the ADA Third Party Payer Concierge at 1-800-621-8099.

The ADA Center for Professional Success houses a web page on the topic at ADA.org/suretybonds.