On May 13, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the final award of the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) contract to NCI Information Systems, Inc. a Reston, VA based IT firm that will administer the contract through AdvanceMed, a wholly owned subsidiary that also holds several CMS contracts to serve as regional Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICS). The contract, worth $52 million, is for one base year and up to 4 additional option years.
Palmetto GBA, who has held the NSC contract since the creation of the NSC almost 20 years ago, filed a protest of the original contract award which was dismissed by the Government Accountability Office, clearing the way for the final award of the NSC contract to NCI.
CMS did not provide any specific information regarding when the transition of the NSC contract will occur. AOPA will provide any information regarding the transition as it is announced.
AOPA’s take on this issue is that this may be a bit of a bumpy road, especially in the beginning of the transition period. Theoretically, the transition should be seamless to the provider community but Palmetto GBA has had 20 years to refine their processes, which still remain far from perfect. NCI based its proposal on its ability to provide streamlined provider enrollment with increased focus on keeping questionable suppliers from enrolling in the Medicare program. While its proposal was successful, in terms of achieving the contract award, the transition to a new contractor always creates the potential for problems and delays in processes. While Palmetto GBA has been far from perfect, NCI is an unknown entity which creates a lot of uncertainty regarding their ability to improve on the processes developed by Palmetto GBA.
AOPA will continue to monitor this issue and communicate any updates as they are announced and implemented.
AOPA’s Take. Where you go……When you need to know!!