Durable Medical Equipment orders can undoubtedly be labeled ‘difficult’ in the current Home Health environment. Only years ago, it was customary to simply put in an order with justification and let the process do the rest of the work. However, in recent years, it has become much more difficult to obtain — whether ordering through Medicare or private insurance avenues.
One thing we often see is a struggle between what patients need for quality care and what Medicare considers to be qualifying criteria. We believe that open discussion between patients and clinicians can really bridge this gap. In the age of Amazon and other online shopping sites, while it may not be financially feasible for some patients to obtain equipment, it is at least possible to get equipment shipped directly to the home – something homebound patients benefit from greatly.
After that has been clarified, though, the bigger issue we’ve seen is that DME ordering has not been embraced by any one party. While the physician’s signature is required to obtain equipment, many MD offices rely upon Home Health Agencies to forward orders their way, and clinicians to get them the appropriate justification. Some agencies prefer to have clinicians handle outright.
In Home Health, however, clinicians are often on the road and can struggle to memorize the qualifying criteria for every piece of equipment – yet alone track orders. This is why Lifespan has created a DME Ordering Form, which not only guides a clinician through coverage criteria, but also utilizes these questions to generate the required Detailed Written Order and DME Progress Note. Since adopting this, we have seen a marked decrease in the number of complaints surrounding DME.
Agencies: What is your agency doing to make sure patients receive DME in a timely manner? Has DME even been a problem?
Clinicians: What has your response been in the field to DME coverage criteria? Do you find it difficult to manage orders?