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Durable Medical Equipment - Proficient Rx

What is Durable Medical Equipment?

Durable medical equipment (DME)  includes items that are used during treatment and recovery of an injury, illness or due to age related problems.

They are typically non-disposable. They are often used both at home and at any location outside of the medical facility.

Equipment can be used by caregivers, family members or the patient themselves.

What Is DME?

The equipment must be reusable and mostly for use in the home of the patient, or a long-term recovery unit of a medical institution. With in-home care services on the rise, so are the use of medical equipment needs within the home.

The durable medical equipment industry reached close to 42 billion dollars just last year, with numbers increasing. However, equipment is not the same as supplies.

 

Durable Medical Equipment vs. Supplies

Durable medical equipment is sometimes confused with disposable medical supplies. While both are needed and used by the elderly, ill and disabled, they are different.

The main difference is that medical supplies are items that help a patient care for themselves, but are disposed of once used. Examples of supplies include blood sugar testing strips for diabetics. Durable medical supplies can also include disposable gloves that a patient or caregiver may wear during a daily treatment.

Supplies can also include bandages, catheter equipment, needles for injection kits and diapers. If it is used once and then thrown away, it is considered a durable medical supply.

Durable medical equipment is prescribed for long-term use to help those in recovery from an illness or injury. In the case of the elderly, the durable medical equipment may be prescribed for an infinite amount of time.

 

Categories of DME

There are many categories of durable medical equipment: mobility aids, personal care aids, prosthesis, orthotics and oxygen equipment.

Mobility Aids are prescribed to patients who have a challenging time walking or who can’t get around well on their own. They are used to assist the patient in getting around physically.

Personal Care Aids can include items that assist a disabled, ill or elderly patient complete their daily hygiene routines. Personal care aids can help a person get in and out of a bath or shower, use the toilet and for added security from falling. They can even include products made to help patients dress themselves.

Prosthetic Limbs enable patients to perform duties that require the limb the patient lost.

Orthotics include footwear to correct a problem or to assist a patient in walking and receiving foot therapy at the same time.

Oxygen Equipment can aid patients who struggle with respiratory problems. Example diagnoses include COPD and asthma.

 

Specific Examples of Durable Medical Equipment

Hospital beds are a very common piece of durable medical equipment. They can be ordered on a temporary or long-term basis, depending on the needs of your patient. Hospital beds are prescribed for patients who need to remain in a certain position that normal beds do now allow.

Hospital beds also allow attachments needed for patient health or recovery that cannot be attached to normal beds.

To help patients move around, a doctor can prescribe specific mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, scooters and canes.

Specific personal care aids include rods to help patients pull up their own pants and socks. They can also include raised toilet seats for patients who have trouble bending. Bath and shower aids can include handles and shower stools. All personal care aids enable the patient to remain independent.

Artificial limbs are serving over two million Americans today.

Orthotic equipment is often prescribed by doctors for foot therapy and pain relief. Common orthotics include shoe inserts, possibly to help with arch support. Others include heat moldable orthotics, and shoe insoles. If not treated properly, orthotic ailments can lead to hip and back problems down the road.

 

Who Orders DME?

There are times when a patient will give themselves a diagnosis. Maybe they fell and are struggling to walk without pain, so they may buy themselves a cane. Or, they are afraid of slipping in the shower, so they buy themselves a shower chair.

Many patients purchase durable medical equipment for themselves rather than getting a physician’s prescription. These are the patients who do not mind paying the full cost of the equipment.

Those who do not want to pay, or cannot pay, for equipment will need a physician’s prescription so insurance will cover the costs.

A face to face encounter with a patient is required in order for you to prescribe durable medical equipment. Once you determine your patient needs the device, you put in an order. Most doctors file claims for the patients whose insurance requires it. Durable medical equipment is paid by an insurance company most of the time.

 

Who Pays for DME?

There are times when insurance companies require the patient to pay for the equipment up front and be reimbursed for all the costs, or partial costs.

Some insurance companies require an adjuster to determine whether medical equipment is necessary. A good example is with Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulators (TENS). Some adjusters will attend actual patient visits and view x-rays before deciding as to whether the equipment is beneficial to the patient. Once an adjuster agrees it is needed, the insurance company will likely pay the full amount.

Some patients prefer to purchase durable medical equipment out of pocket. They can even purchase over-the-counter durable medical equipment from your office or at the local drug store. Items include:

    • Knee braces
    • Padded seats
    • Blood pressure monitors
    • Hot and cold packs
    • Canes and many more

The durable medical equipment industry is accelerating each year because people are choosing to be cared for in their homes.  If they do not have to stay in a hospital, they don’t. Another reason for DME use increasing is because the geriatric population is increasing.

People are living longer, but this may because they have the help of durable medical equipment and supplies, and better healthcare by physicians such as you.

Providing durable medical equipment to your patients is one way you can improve your services, make patient’s lives easier, and show patients their health is a top priority.

Contact Us Today for DME

 

durable medical equipment - crutches | Proficient Rx

Common Durable Medical Equipment for an Urgent Care

There are special times when you need medical attention but can’t take the ordinary route to getting help. For instance, you hurt your arm on a Saturday while playing football with your buddies. Or, you slipped and fell on your icy sidewalk when taking out the trash after supper. Calling a family practitioner is a waste of time because they do not have evening and weekend hours. And even if they did, their schedules are fully booked for at least three days ahead and you won’t get the durable medical equipment you need. What are your options?

You could go to the emergency room. But is your injury bad enough for an emergency room visit? Will the E.R. doctors and nurses get mad at you for taking up their time with a non-emergency issue?

You could also go to an urgent care center. Let the urgent care doctor determine how serious your injury is and make the referral to emergency services, if needed. If not, they will be able to treat your symptoms until you can see your family practitioner.

Yes, this sounds like a better option. So, what exactly is an urgent care center?

What is an Urgent Care Center?

Urgent care facilities are located throughout larger cities. There may only be one in a small rural area. Currently, there are over 7,300 urgent care centers in the United States.

They are small clinics that hire physicians to treat patients who are not in an emergency, can’t get in to see their family doctor, and need of medical care right away.

Urgent care centers have hours available outside the normal workday hours, making it very convenient for patients. Most are open seven days a week for at least twelve hours a day.

They accept walk-in patients and have on-site diagnostic equipment such as x-ray machines. They provide ambulatory care to patients who are in crisis, but not enough for it to be considered an emergency. Very few patients are sent from an urgent care to the emergency room.

Most Common Diagnoses in an Urgent Care

According to reports, urgent cares treat many illnesses and injuries. The most common injuries include sprains, fractures, cuts and burns. Common illnesses include the flu, colds, strep throat and ear aches.

Rashes, sore throats, migraines, muscle pain and soreness are symptoms urgent care doctors find themselves treating each day. Fortunately, they are well-equipped to handle almost any illness or injury causing pain and suffering to their patients.

They can even provide durable medical equipment to patients who need additional assistance in helping them recover from an illness or injury.

What is Durable Medical Equipment?

Durable medical equipment refers to devices that are needed to treat a medical issue and that can withstand multiple uses. Durable medical equipment is only needed by a person who is injured or ill. It has a longevity of two to three years and is to be used in a patient’s home.

Doctors will not prescribe durable medical equipment to a patient who cannot truly benefit from its use. The durable medical equipment available in an urgent care may be different than the equipment a patient will receive in an emergency room or family physician’s office.

The needs of the patient will vary, just like the durable medical equipment.

Keep reading to find out some of the common durable medical equipment for an urgent care.

For Contusions, Sprains, and Strains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, while a strain is an injury to muscles and tendons. All can be very painful. These injuries can produce swelling, muscle spasms, and cramping.

Urgent care centers are the perfect place to be treated for sprains and strains when you can’t see your family physician.

The durable medical equipment available at an urgent care to assist in treatments include compression devices, crutches, canes, walkers, hot and cold therapy packs and braces. Physicians and nurses working at an urgent care are responsible for making sure patients know exactly how to use the durable medical equipment prescribed.

For Respiratory Issues

Many times, someone experiencing respiratory ailments such as flu like symptoms, colds or viruses can also experience breathing problems. Durable medical equipment such as breathing treatments or machines used to get patients to breath more effectively can be prescribed.

Nebulizers, vaporizers, CPAP machines and therapy masks can aid a patient in breathing better. A few other examples include humidifiers, and oxygen masks.

Respiratory related equipment should also be thoroughly explained to the patient by the physician to prevent further harm.

For Cuts and Burns

Accidental cuts and burns are common and there is a medical protocol in treating these injuries. Cleaning wounds is the most important part of the process. Gauze pads and alcohol are essential, along with bandages, medical tape and materials to provide stitches when necessary.

Burn sheets and dressings are also on hand at urgent care centers, and in many types and sizes to meet the needs of the patient injury.

For General Health

There may be times when patients need to become better monitors of themselves and of their own health. Urgent care physicians will recognize patients who need to begin monitoring their own vitals at home to prevent larger health issues.

Using blood pressure monitors can help prevent stroke and heart disease that is caused by high blood pressure. Blood glucose monitoring and testing strips can help a patient who is pre-diabetic from becoming diabetic.

Giving detailed instructions and ensuring patients know exactly how to use the equipment prescribed is the responsibility of the urgent care physician. If patients misuse the equipment, they can misinterpret the results and misinterpret the severity of their health problems.

Durable medical equipment has been a key to patient recovery for many years. In the past, it has only been accessible at pharmacies, and only if an insurance company would cover its expense.

Today, with the rise of urgent care centers, durable medical equipment is available at the point of care. Meaning, patients can have immediate access to equipment that can assist in their recovery.

 

 

 

 

Durable Medical Equipment Income | Proficient Rx

Durable Medical Equipment Income For The Practice

According to recent research, the durable medical equipment market is expected to exceed 240 billion dollars by the year 2024. This growth provides opportunity for practices to earn durable medical equipment income by offering commonly needed equipment.

Prior to physicians being able to sell durable medical equipment, you were writing prescriptions for larger items. Patients were inconvenienced by being sent to a pharmacy and your practice was losing out on durable medical equipment income.

Durable medical equipment gives comfort to patients dealing with painful ailments. They also help speed up recovery, especially when patients can receive physical therapy with their durable medical equipment.

Medical equipment has shown to improve quality of life for many patients. And it helps patients take responsibility for their own care and recovery.

What is Durable Medical Equipment?

Durable medical equipment includes items that are used during treatment. They are typically non-disposable. They are often used both at home and at any location outside of the medical facility.

Equipment can be used by caregivers, family members or the patient themselves.

Durable Medical Equipment Income Is Compliant With Insurance Companies

Insurance companies, especially Medicare and Medicaid, pay for durable medical equipment as long as they are proven to be needed for a medical reason. They can only be obtained with a prescription from a physician.

The equipment prescribed must be able to function in the home of the patient and it much be able to endure wear and tear. By sending your patient to another source to pick up this equipment, you are losing out on durable medical equipment income for the practice.

Adding ancillary services can make billing easy when you work with specific companies who include software with their services. This software comes with tech support, inventory assistance and it is connected directly with insurance companies.

This means all you must do is enter the information and hit the submit button. The claims are sent directly to the claims department of the insurance company that carries your patient.

Personal Mobility Devices

The personal mobility device industry is booming. With more and more people wanting electric devices, the market is expected to rise to over 14 billion dollars in the next ten years or less. This can mean great financial opportunities for physicians via durable medical equipment income when prescribing at the point of care.

Personal mobility devices include items such as wheelchairs, scooters, canes and walkers. They can also include patient lifts, crutches and any other device that helps a patient move around better in their home and in any environment where they need assistance.

Personal mobility devices help patients with transportation needs. Many patients requiring such devices suffer from ailments like arthritis and osteoporosis. Many patients suffer personal injuries and may only need mobility devices for temporary use. Durable medical equipment income can be gained from providing these devices in office while also being a convenience to your patients.

Bathroom Safety Devices

According to reports, just last year around 800,000 people over the age of 65 had a fall that resulted in being admitted to a hospital. More than 27,000 falls led to death. Many of these falls took place in the bathroom.

Bathroom safety devices can greatly reduce the number of injuries. Consumer Affairs claims that while bathroom safety devices are needed and can save many people from injury, they are also underutilized.

Physicians with injured patients could take advantage of this fact and begin prescribing more bathroom safety devices for patients in need while making durable medical equipment income off them.

Safety devices can include grab bars, tension poles, shower chairs and bath benches. Safety can also be achieved by using non-slip mats or adhesive non-slip strips. For some, raising the toilet seat and lowering medical cabinets can prevent injuries.

These are just a few ways bathroom injuries can be prevented.

Monitoring Devices

Home use medical devices that monitor patients can save lives. These include vital signs monitoring such as blood pressure and blood sugar machines and heart rate monitors.

With technology improving at a rapid rate, many at home monitoring devices are produced to fit wireless technologies. These devices can track everything from pulse to sleeping patterns. Apnea monitors are incredibly beneficial in helping those who may stop breathing during sleep or whose snoring is a major problem.

Thermometers of all kinds are considered monitoring devices that can be approved for at home use. Furthermore, blood coagulation meters and electrocardiogram monitors are beneficial for patients.

Physicians can prescribe these items to patients who need to monitor themselves while at home, and any time outside of your care while also increasing the cash flow of the practice via durable medical equipment income.

Medical Furniture

Medical furniture is any type of furniture that benefits the patient in their journey to recovery of physical ailments. Furniture can include any item from hospital beds, recliners with lifting capabilities, to tables that lower and rise as needed.

Medical furniture is also underutilized and less prescribed by physicians. However, medical furniture could be an area where dispensing physicians could provide patients with additional care. It could lead to convenience for patients as well as speedier recoveries. Meaning, patient health outcomes will improve.

Trends in Durable Medical Equipment

Life expectancy is increasing. Therefore, an aging population needing durable medical equipment will increase. Physicians participating in point of care dispensing should recognize the need for patients to be assisted with durable medical equipment.

The convenience you offer to patients who need medical equipment right away is invaluable. Saving them time and money will be appreciated by all your patients. And for those who can’t purchase products, a trending option is to rent the equipment. Either way provides you with durable medical equipment income.

Medical equipment rentals can help both the patient and the doctor. If insurance doesn’t pay for certain medical equipment devices, patients are not likely able to pay for the equipment on their own. If they can rent equipment, the time they spend healing could be reduced.

Renting medical equipment benefits physicians as well. You can earn durable medical equipment income multiple times on just one piece of equipment.

Ancillary services are proving to be worth exploring for physicians who are interested in adding a durable medical equipment income to their practice. Prescribing durable medical equipment is an area that is on the rise, with more and more patients benefiting from use.

Providing durable medical equipment at the point of care provides your patients with convenience. It also increases the likelihood patients will comply with your orders, which can lead to better health. Helping a person have better health is your goal, but you can do that and still earn yourself extra cash flow along the way with durable medical equipment income. Prescribing equipment is one way to help you reach that goal.

Durable Medical Equipment - Injury | DroneBase

Durable Medical Equipment for Worker’s Compensation Patients

In the last few years, close to 130 million employees on both the federal and state levels were covered by worker’s compensation and many require the use of durable medical equipment.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association, companies pay around one billion dollars a week to cover medical costs and worker’s compensation for employees. The coverage seems well worth it in the workforce of construction and labor. But in the sedentary occupations such as secretaries or computer work, it has been an excessive cost for a minimal risk job.

The Economic Policy Institute reports there are 23,000 work related injuries per day in the United States. They also report that many workers develop illnesses on the job. These illnesses are costing employers even more money than injuries.

Most companies agree, however, that worker’s compensation is an effective way of avoiding a lawsuit from an employee. So just what are worker’s compensation benefits?

What are Worker’s Compensation Benefits?

Worker’s compensation insurance is purchased by employers. It is a temporary insurance program. It covers medical costs to employees who are injured while performing duties related to the job.

It can also replace part of the income that would have been made by the employee if they were able to continue working. In worse case scenarios, it can provide compensation to family members if an employee is killed on the job.

Worker’s compensation may also pay for any durable medical equipment needed by the employee to assist them with recovering from their injury.

The worker’s compensation program is state-mandated and employers who do not provide worker’s compensation can be susceptible to fines and even lawsuits.

What Type of Injuries Are Compensated?

Not every injury is covered under worker’s compensation. If you are an undocumented citizen, agricultural worker, or nanny, you are not covered for job-related injuries.

Most other types of jobs are covered. If the injury can be proven to be directly related to the job, it is covered. There are even times, like at company social events, where injuries can be covered, especially if the social event is a requirement of the job.

An example is if an employee falls off a ladder and breaks his leg while building a house for a construction company. Or, if someone develops carpal tunnel syndrome due to too much time spent typing or on the computer.

While there are many cases of fraud among scam artists trying to get money based on false injuries, most cases are validated.

Some injuries like this will require medical devices or equipment to help them in recovery. This equipment is often called durable medical equipment.

What is Durable Medical Equipment?

Durable medical equipment refers to items needed to assist people who are recovering from an injury they obtained while at work.

The equipment must be reusable and mostly for use in the home of the patient, or a long-term recovery unit of a medical institution. With in-home care services on the rise, so are the use of medical equipment needs within the home.

If a work-related accident requires in home care, worker’s compensation insurance can cover the costs of equipment needed by the patient and the caregiver.

Examples of Durable Medical Equipment

Common types of durable medical equipment include crutches, canes and walkers. Oxygen tanks and nebulizers are also considered durable medical equipment.

For those diagnosed with diabetes, blood glucose strips and monitors qualify as medical equipment allowed by worker’s compensation insurance.

Ventilators, hospital beds, and positive airways pressure machines are on this list. A person would also be allowed to have chair lifts, commode chairs and wheelchairs. Other thinks that are one-time use, such as prepackaged medication, would not count as durable medical equipment, but might still be covered under worker’s comp.

The list of durable medical equipment is extensive but this gives you an idea of the types of equipment allowed. If they are determined to be medically necessary for use in the home of the patient, and that it is necessary for treatment in recovery, it will likely qualify.

How Do You Get Durable Medical Equipment for Your Patients?

A face to face encounter with a patient is required in order for you to prescribe durable medical equipment. Once you determine your patient needs the device, you put in an order. Most doctors file claims for the patients whose insurance requires it.

There are times when insurance companies require the patient to pay for the equipment up front and be reimbursed for all the costs, or partial costs.

Some insurance companies require an adjuster to determine whether medical equipment is necessary. A good example is with Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulators (TENS). Some adjusters will attend actual patient visits and view x-rays before deciding as to whether the equipment is beneficial to the patient.

Once an adjuster agrees it is needed, the insurance company will likely pay the full amount.

You can acquire the assistance of specialists who provide the equipment for you. They can also assist with the claims and offer many benefits that ease your workload. These companies are like those who specialize in medication dispensing.

Instead of dispensing medications, however, they are dispensing durable medical equipment.

The Future of Durable Medical Equipment

Equipment used in helping people recovery from injuries, whether at work, at home or elsewhere, is expected to grow at an enormous rate. According to Grand View Research, the global market for durable medical equipment is expected to reach 242 billion by the year 2024.

Personal mobility devices are among the large types of equipment being needed by patients.

With the number of worker’s compensation cases expected to increase dramatically, you can also expect the number of care providers needed to increase.

When you first start working with a patient who has a work-related injury, it is just you, the patient, the adjuster and the company. Depending on the injury, you may also be looking at adding a case manager, physical therapist, occupational therapists, vocational therapists and more.

Therefore, it is even more encouraging to utilize the services of specialist companies who can take the reins on everything related to the case. This means they can work with the insurance companies, they can provide the medical equipment needed for recovery, and they can even help with billing and collections.

With your worker’s compensation patient numbers expected to increase, the number of durable medical equipment needs will increase also. Do what you can to minimize paperwork while maximizing time with your patients.