What the new DMEPOS bond requirement means for you

Sept. 21, 2019
Dentists are now required to meet the standard bonding requirements if their practices are currently using the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment or DME.

Until November 28, 2018, dentists were exempt from the surety bond requirement for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) when providing such supplies to their patients as a part of their dental treatment.

However, the rules have changed recently with an update to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), bringing a substantial shift in the field. Dentists are now required to meet the standard bonding requirements if their practices are currently using the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment or DME.

The new process means that dentists have to obtain a DMEPOS surety bond in the amount of $50,000, similar to the rest of DMEPOS suppliers. It has to be presented to the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) during the enrollment procedure.

For an overview of the changes and what they mean for dental practices, here is more insight into the topic.

New DMEPOS surety bond requirement for dentists

As an increasing number of dentists enroll for DMEPOS services so as to become DME suppliers, the CMS has made a move to synchronize its requirements toward professionals who provide DME and are a part of the CMS program. It now requires such dental practitioners to obtain a $50,000 DMEPOS surety bond, just like the rest of the DME suppliers. By doing this, the CMS aims to prevent the risk of fraudulent use of its programs by enrolled suppliers. 

There are some cases in which you may forgo this requirement. Such instances are if you are already bonded under similar conditions, if you operate an Indian health facility not fully run by a tribe, and if you have a licensed private practice creating custom-made orthotics and prosthetics. However, you have to check on the specifics for your case in order to make sure you can skip the bonding. 

The DMEPOS surety bond functions as a security instrument protecting the CMS and the interests of its programs’ beneficiaries. It can provide protection in cases of illegitimate payment claims to Medicare for DMEPOS, as well as other unlawful actions that enrolled parties may engage in.

How to ensure your practice stays compliant

The CMS started sending notifications to dentists in February 2019 with a requirement to provide the DMEPOS bond within 60 days of receipt. If you have received the notice already, you have to comply with the deadline to get bonded or face cancellation of your Medicare Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN). Accredited DMEPOS providers are required to work with compliant dental practices as well, so they would also check your bonding before they work with you. In some cases, failing to follow the new rule can lead to financial sanctions.

In order to fulfill the new bond requirement, you have to apply for a DMEPOS bond with a surety that is authorized to provide such a bond. While the bond amount is $50,000, you only need to cover a fraction of it to get bonded. This is called the bond premium and usually ranges between 0.5% and 5%. The exact cost is set on the basis of the strength of your personal and business finances. Your bond premium is likely to be lower if your financial profile is solid.

Victor J. Lance, MBA, is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He is a surety bond expert who helps medical professionals become licensed and bonded. Lance graduated from Villanova University in business administration and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Contact him at