Obtaining Durable Medical Equipment
By the Independent Living Coordinators at Society's Assets
Durable medical equipment (DME) is equipment that is used
primarily for medical purposes at home, is necessary for the treatment of an
illness or disease, and is designed to withstand prolonged use. The following are some tips to consider when obtaining DME.
Selecting a vendor
To locate a company or vendor that sells medical equipment, you can search
the yellow pages of the telephone directory under Home Health Care Equipment
& Supplies. You also can contact your independent
living center for a list of companies.
Start by asking….
How long will it take to get the equipment?
What is the process for getting equipment funded?
Will the cost of the equipment be reimbursed by your health insurance, Medicaid
What is the lifetime expectancy of the equipment?
Before you buy, ask….
If your equipment has to go in for repair, is a temporary replacement available?
How does the vendor service and maintain items such as hospital beds or
What is the vendor’s return policy?
What options are there if your health condition changes and the equipment no
longer meets your needs, particularly before the lifetime expectancy of the
Will the new equipment work with equipment you already use?
Will the new equipment fit into your living space?
What can you do if equipment is not what you expected, or if it limits your
If renting your equipment, ask….
Under what circumstances will the vendor replace equipment during the time it
qualifies as a rental?
When equipment reaches the rental cap (the maximum length of time you can rent
the equipment), what are the pros and cons of purchasing versus a maintenance
When purchasing medical equipment, remember….
If the company or vendor will accept assignment it means they accept what
Medicaid or Medicare will pay for the equipment, so do not agree to pay for any
Ask for a prior authorization or purchase order number so you can check on the
status of the equipment.
Check to see if the item you received is the same as what you ordered.
Fully inspect the equipment to see if it works for you.
Ask for a demonstration so you know how to use the equipment.
March 01, 2013