Every sleep professional knows that getting the right equipment (and getting it to work right) is crucial for any patient. Sometimes the companies that make durable medical equipment (or DMEs) are extremely helpful when working with patients, while others are not. We asked some of our members to explain their relationship working with DMEs, for better or for worse.
Brendan Duffy, RPSGT, CCSH: “The DMEs have a difficult task with ever-changing payment codes and requirements. But if you work with them, you can often establish a good working relationship. While many times we are naturally going to remember the times an order was dropped, we should also remember the many orders that are carried out without a hitch. One of our local DME’s also is the sponsor of the local area Awake group and takes donated machines to distribute to diagnosed patients that are in need but do not have insurance for a CPAP unit.”
Crystal Cortese, RPSGT, CCSH: “We hear often that the DME suppliers aren’t spending focused time with them to help them understand their new lifestyle when they are put on CPAP. They aren’t getting the tutorials, many suppliers have ceased doing official mask fittings, and they are hard to contact after when the patient has questions. … DME suppliers are now so focused on the insurance requirements that they lose sight of the patient. They are not advocating for the patient.”
Sherry D. Johnson, R. EEGT, RPSGT, RST, CCSH: “We as clinicians realize that the DME companies cannot provide care free of charge and or pay their staff if they are not being reimbursed for their services. I think that Medicare needs to re-evaluate the reimbursement for the PAP and oxygen therapies. It has created so many barriers for the physician’s and most of all the patients are suffering because of their decision to cut reimbursement for DME services.”
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