Medicare can pay a strong net financial gain to a chiropractor who is certified as a supplier of Durable Medical Equipment (DME) under Medicare. At this time, the reimbursement levels are very good. Many chiropractors are not aware that these supplies are already obtained by their patients from other sources. For a long time, medical physicians, physical therapists, and supply stores have been on this side of the health care business. It’s worth taking a closer look at the challenges and opportunities available to Chiropractors, given that Medicare pays very well for DME.
What is DME?
Any equipment that provides medicinal benefits to a patient afflicted with certain medical conditions and/or illnesses is Durable Medical Equipment (DME). DME includes hospital beds, wheelchairs (manual and electric), canes, traction equipment, crutches, walkers, kidney machines, oxygen, ventilators, monitors, pressure mattresses, lifts, nebulizers, etc.
Why Use DME in Treatment Plans?
If you are not incorporating durable medical supplies in your treatment plans when applicable, then you might be insufficiently treating your patients. The use of durable medical equipment helps to achieve two very important objectives for a chiropractor. It helps achieve good results in patient care and secondly, it helps chiropractors capture a steady revenue source for their practice. Robust clinical products that help patients live healthier lives are included in Durable medical equipment. DME also increases the compliance of patients, which leads them to “taking part” in their health efforts, leading to better results and increased retention of patients.
Cervical traction devices, Lumbar braces, and tens units are some of the most frequently used durable medical items by chiropractors and other physicians. There are many other categories and items, in addition to these, that are considered DME supplies. Using durable medical devices authorized and certified by the appropriate Medicare agency is very important.
DME Coverage by Medicare
Durable medical equipment (DME) prescribed by your doctor for home use is covered by Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), according to the Medicare Website. Medicare usually covers DME if the equipment Serves a medical purpose, Is appropriate for use in the home, although you can also use it outside the home, is likely to last for three years or more, and can withstand repeated use.
A chiropractor as DME Supplier
It has been argued that chiropractors can’t be active in prescribing DME. However, as long as you follow the right protocols and procedures it is possible. By participating in the Medicare DME program many chiropractors have benefited greatly. The levels of reimbursement can be very appealing for the practice.
Before the recent Medicare changes, to be certified as Medicare DME provider, chiropractors had to complete 3 application forms, pay the fee, and have an unannounced visit to the practice office. The process was relatively simpler. It used to take approximately 4 to 8 weeks for the whole process to complete assuming that the chiropractor proved the requirement of DMR products and has the necessary forms in place. As a result of the recent changes, chiropractors now have to complete accreditation, which can take 2 to 4 months. It’s much more difficult, time-consuming, and to be honest, a much greater headache. What was once an easy-to-traverse, simple process has become very cumbersome and painstaking. But it doesn’t mean that it all can’t be done. And it can definitely be worth having to go through all the hoops with the benefits of selling DME. Complying with existing legislation would help those who do obtain accreditation.
It makes sense to not battle the tide in this era of ever-increasing government regulation and obtain better compliance to improve your chances of supplying your patients with useful products, while not shaking the boat to prove medical necessity.
Adding DME to your current patient load will add clinical benefits, increase patient compliance, and increase revenue in this era of declining revenue. There is no other addition to chiropractic practice in today’s age that has as many benefits and safety that becoming a DME provider/supplier offers. In order to maintain a good doctor-patient relationship, patient satisfaction is crucial; the use of DME helps on this front.
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