Medical Equipment and Supplies

Medical equipment and supply companies, commonly referred to as Durable Medical Equipment (DME) companies, provide a wide range of products, equipment, and services to seniors who want to remain at home. As you discharge from a health facility, ask the discharge planner or social worker to help you arrange to acquire the products and services you will need to live at home.

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Products and services offered may include:


• respiratory products and services
o nebulizers and oxygen
o CPAP and Bi-PAP Systems to treat patients with obstructive, central and complex
   sleep apnea
o aerosol therapy (treatment for asthma, emphysema, and Chronic Obstructive
   Pulmonary Disease (COPD);
• home medical equipment
o power chairs
o SCOOTER products
o wheelchairs
o walkers
o canes
o lift chairs
o hospital beds
o grab bars
o TENS Units
o transfer benches
o tub seats
o other assistive devices;
• enteral nutrition products and services (tube feeding supplies);
• infusion therapy products and services (pumps and related supplies, infusion therapies and
• diabetic shoes and socks;
• incontinence products;
• prosthetic (mastectomy), orthotic and certain supplies (POS);
• respiratory therapy;
• technicians who install and service your products;
• trainers who educate you or a family member about the proper use of equipment.

Payment Options

Payment options vary depending on the equipment or supplies you purchase. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries should contact the company selling the products for more details. If you have a prescription for an item that Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance do not cover, you may be able to purchase the product as a nontaxable item.

Some of the payment options for purchasing medical equipment and supplies include:
• private funds;
• long-term care insurance;
VA benefits;

Medicare will cover certain types of medical equipment if it:
• is prescribed by a doctor;
• can withstand repeated use;
• is primarily and customarily issued to serve a medical purpose;
• is generally not useful to a person in the absence of an illness or injury;
• is appropriate for use in the home; and
• is provided by specific suppliers that Medicare has approved.

Medicare will cover some medical supplies, such as catheters, tubing, lubricants, and feeding pumps. Medicare also will pay to purchase or replace certain equipment, such as wheelchairs, SCOOTERS, and other types of mobility-assistive equipment.

Most companies that sell medical equipment and supplies will help you determine whether Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance will cover the purchase. They also will send the bill directly to Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance company.

Find out if Medicare covers your test, item or service.

Medical Equipment and Supplies Checklist

Printable Version

Equipment and Supplies

_____ Do you offer all of the equipment and services I need?

_____ Do you sell used medical equipment or supplies?

_____ Will I be told if the equipment or supplies have been used?

_____ Can you dispose of my old/existing bed or chair when you deliver my new equipment?

_____ Will I own the equipment, or will I have to return it?

_____ Can you get supplies for me in an emergency?

Servicing of Equipment

_____Is my equipment covered by a warranty?

_____ Who will service or repair my equipment if I have a problem?

_____ Do you have trained service personnel on staff?

_____ If I need assistance, whom should I call?

_____ Under what circumstances may I return the equipment?

_____ Will someone come to my home and regularly service my equipment?

Ordering and Shipping

_____ How do I place an order?

_____ How long is the payment and approval process before I can receive the equipment?

_____ Will your staff work with my doctor or the facility discharge planner to ensure that I will have
           everything I need when I arrive home?

_____ Will you train a family member or me about the proper operation, care, maintenance and
           safety of the equipment?

_____ Will you ship or deliver products to my home?

_____ What is the cost of shipping or delivery?

_____ When will the products arrive?

_____ What is your return policy?

_____ Who pays for shipping back to you?


_____ Do you accept Medicare, Medicaid or other forms of insurance?

_____ Do you have someone on staff who will assist me in determining whether my purchases will be
           covered by Medicare, Medicaid or my insurance?

_____ How much money will I pay out of my pocket?

_____ Will I receive a document that explains the method of payment and when I have to pay?

_____ Do you offer financing or payment options?


_____ How long have you been in business?

_____ Will you provide me a list of references from doctors or other medical professionals who are
           familiar with the quality of your products and services you provide?


_____ Whom should I call with questions or complaints?