Must my company have a respiratory therapist on staff if it sells oxygen?
The Supplier Type section of the CMS 855S application form is the section where suppliers indicate their specialties. All suppliers are required to have at least one specialty, but may have more. The Products/Services section is where suppliers indicate the products and services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries.
If a supplier chooses 'Medical Supply Company with Respiratory Therapist' as its specialty, regardless of the products and services checked in the Products/Services section (generally in this case one is oxygen), the supplier is telling the NSC and CMS it has the staff to provide these respiratory services.
The NSC will then require the appropriate documentation. Contracts with licensed respiratory therapists are acceptable unless prohibited by the state were services are rendered. (See supplier standard 1 for more details.)
If a supplier chooses 'Medical Supply Company' and selects 'Oxygen' as a product or service, the supplier may choose to contract with any qualified individual to maintain and repair the oxygen equipment (see supplier standard 14). The supplier may instruct the beneficiary on the use of the oxygen equipment or may choose to have another qualified individual do so (see supplier standard 12 under FAQs - Supplier Standards entitled, 'May I contract delivery and instruction services out to someone else?').
A supplier may choose to have a respiratory therapist check and maintain equipment and educate the beneficiary on its use. The supplier may also choose to contract with the respiratory therapist to perform other services. Simply ensure all these services are outlined in the contract between the respiratory therapist and the supplier.
Be sure to indicate only the true specialty of the company and attach all required licenses, permits, etc., to prove compliance.