Home medical equipment also known as durable
medical equipment, prosthetics and orthotics (DMEPOS) is
a category of devices used for patients whose care is being
managed from a home or other private facility managed by a nonprofessional
caregiver or family
member. It is often referred to as
"durable" medical equipment (DME) as it is intended to withstand repeated use
by non-professionals or the patient, and is appropriate for use in the home.
and Medical Care Products Index
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Health Care Products
Medical Equipment -
Hair Loss supplies
Medical Equipment &
Ostomy Equipment & Supplies
Oxygen Therapy Equipment
Physicians Surgical Equipment and Supplies
Podiatrists' Equipment & Supplies
Surgical Appliances and Supplies
Laboratory R& D
Laboratory Analytical Instruments (Mfrs)
Laboratory Equipment & Supplies
Radiology & X-Ray
X-Ray Labs Medical, Denta
Medical Management Consultants
Medical & Surgical
|Medical supplies of an expendable nature, such as
bandages, rubber gloves and irrigating kits are not considered by Medicare
to be DME
For most home medical equipment, a patient must have a doctor's
prescription for the equipment needed; this is not always true for minor
HME such as walkers or canes.
The physician may then recommend a supplier for the home medical
equipment, or the patient will have to research this on their own. HME /
DMEPOS suppliers are located throughout the country; for suppliers of
oxygen and other critical medical equipment, Medicare rules require the
supplier to only serve patients within a fixed distance, to ensure their
ability to deliver supplies and maintain equipment in a timely fashion.
For most areas of the US this results in a great number of local HME /
DMEPOS suppliers available to the patient in their immediate area.
There is no established typical size for HME / DMEPOS suppliers. Supply
companies include very large organizations such as WalGreens and
Invacare, to smaller local companies operated by sole proprietors or
families. A new evolution in the Home Medical Equipment arena is the
advent of internet retailers such as US Medical Aid who are operating
with extremely low margins and cutting the ultimate cost for end
consumers. In all cases, however, strict rules and laws governing HME /
DMEPOS suppliers apply.
Once a patient or caregiver selects an appropriate HME / DMEPOS supplier,
he/she presents the supplier with the prescription and patient's insurance
information. HME / DMEPOS suppliers maintain an inventory of products and
equipment, so fulfillment of the prescription is rapid, much like a
The HME / DMEPOS supplier is obligated to perform certain functions when
providing home medical equipment. These include:
Proper delivery and setup of the equipment
Ensuring the home environment is suitable and safe for proper usage of the
Training the patient, family and caregivers on the proper usage and
maintenance of the equipment
Providing 24-hour contact information in the event of equipment
malfunction or other emergency
Informing the patient and/or caregiver of their rights and
Providing periodic maintenance services (e.g., refilling oxygen, servicing
Notifying the patient or caregiver of any changes in insurance
All HME / DMEPOS suppliers are reqquired to comply with Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect patients'
confidentiality and records.
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