Some of the most significant advancements in our technology over the past few centuries have been based in the medical field. It is hard to believe that it was not all that long ago that doctors were prescribing leeches and cuts as medicine instead of compounds that have been derived through scientific testing.
While there may still be a whole lot about the human body that we do not know, there is also quite a bit that we have learned, and the amount of medical equipment we have proves that. Over the course of today’s article, we are going to be discussing DME: or Durable Medical Equipment.
Before we get to the specifics, we want to make sure that all of our readers are on the same page, so let's go over the topic in a broader sense. Let's start off with what exactly qualifies something as durable medical equipment as opposed to standard gear that is used for medical purposes.
Durable medical equipment is any piece of equipment that can be used to treat a patient who is suffering from an injury or an illness. Most of this gear should be useful in the home, as that is one of the main defining points of durable medical equipment. This gear is also meant to be repeatedly used.
DME needs to be ordered by a trained doctor, and some of them may even require a prescription. Keep in mind that durable medical equipment will provide little to no benefit to a person who is perfectly healthy, so these items are meant for use in the medical field and little else.
While we may have explained what constitutes durable medical equipment, we have yet to discuss some concrete examples. Let’s get right into some of the most common pieces of DME supplies.
Wheelchairs, regardless of their type, are classified as DME, and they are likely the most common piece of DME equipment that you have seen. Many are not aware that wheelchairs are DME, but if you consider it, they fulfill every bit of criteria that is required to be classified as DME.
The most common type of wheelchair that you will come across is a manual wheelchair that is either pushed along by another person or by the user. These wheelchairs tend to be more affordable than their electric counterparts, though you may find that they are a little less convenient.
Apart from manual models, you will also find that electric wheelchairs are also classified as DME, and these models are typically much pricier. An electric wheelchair can move under its own power, making them ideally suited for users who have more severe disabilities than those who are in manual wheelchairs.
While it may sound surprising, it makes sense that hospital beds are also DME. Since beds in hospitals are often meant to be adjusted under their own power, they are a little more complicated than most typical beds. Depending on the hospital, these beds can tend to get somewhat pricey.
You may be shocked to learn that even a simple cane can fall under the category of DME, but it is true. When you consider it, a cane is a product that provides a medical purpose, and one would be unnecessary if it were not for certain conditions like arthritis and other forms of joint pain.
Crutches, another pair of items that support you through injuries and other issues are also considered durable medical equipment, though they are one of the more affordable examples. If you have ever had to deal with a broken bone, you may have had to use crutches before.
There are many different types of crutches, ranging from simple examples to more advanced models that make it even easier to walk with an injured leg.
As you may have guessed by the other options on this list, walkers are also considered DME. Walkers are essentially canes which provide much more support and are meant to be used with both hands. These implements are essential for allowing a significant portion of the elderly population to maintain mobility.
While they may be more medical in nature than some of the other items on this list, you will also find that oxygen tanks are considered DME. These tanks are often prescribed to patients who have issues with their lungs and may require improved oxygen intake to maintain their body at a healthy level.
Keep in mind that DME is not only for the elderly and the infirm, as it can also be used to treat newborns and babies. The biliblanket and bili light combination is a set of medical equipment that is used to treat jaundice in babies, and this whole set of gear is classified as DME.
We get a lot of questions regarding Medicare DME, and this section should help clear up any confusion you have regarding what your insurance will cover. If you have part B coverage, you will get DME covered provided that you fulfill a few criteria.
You first have to be diagnosed with your issue, and then your doctor will have to give you a prescription for your DME. Provided you have a doctor's order, you will be able to purchase your DME with the help of Medicare, which will significantly reduce the cost.
If you are wondering just how much of your DME will be covered by Medicare, you will typically only have to pay around 20% of the cost for your DME. The rest of the price will be covered by your health insurance. You will also have to pay the deductible for part B.
As you can see, DME is essential for ensuring the quality of life of many people, and it can even save lives. We hope that this guide has opened your eyes up about this entire domain of the medical field that is often overlooked by more exciting methods of treatment.