Does DME Prescribing, Ordering Drive You Nuts?

Free Webinar Offers Documentation Tips

September 11, 2015 03:47 pm News Staff

Family physicians know all too well that prescribing and ordering durable medical equipment (DME) for their patients can be fraught with frustration.

[Older woman sitting on scooter in park]

The hassles escalate when the patient is a Medicare enrollee and confusion often arises as to whether a special form is needed and how that form should be filled out to avoid delaying the procurement of needed DME.

With those issues in mind, National Government Services -- the organization that oversees DME Medicare administrative contractors -- has scheduled a free webinar on Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT.

The webinar, titled "Documentation Requirements When Ordering Durable Medicine Equipment," was created with physicians and their practice staff members in mind and aims to familiarize them with Medicare DME documentation requirements.

Register today( because space for this event is limited.

In the past few years, family physicians have seen an uptick in unsolicited requests to prescribe DME -- including power wheelchairs, oxygen equipment, and blood sugar monitors and test strips -- for their patients.

The surge in DME requests -- driven largely by direct-to-consumer marketing on television -- became so pervasive that the 2011 Congress of Delegates adopted an official AAFP policy that states, in part, that physicians can disregard such requests without responding to the vendor or the patient.

The AAFP policy also urges family physicians to have an honest discussion with affected patients about when DME is indicated and the procurement procedure.

About a year later, Family Practice Management published an article in the September/October 2012 issue titled "Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of Durable Medical Equipment" that aimed to help physicians understand Medicare's coverage requirements for some of the equipment and supplies most often prescribed by family physicians.

The author pointed out that physicians should exercise caution when patients are "prompted by direct-to-consumer marketing to request prescriptions for DME" and noted that the DME being requested may not be medically necessary.

Furthermore, such requests could be an indication of possible fraud and abuse on the part of the vendor.