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  • PTs as Prescribers of DME Could Improve Patient Access to Equipment and Related Services

    Recognizing physical therapists (PTs) for their expertise in evaluating for, training in, and prescribing durable medical equipment (DME) will lead to more timely access to appropriate and necessary equipment and services, APTA said in adopting a resolution that supports PTs as authorized prescribers of DME, which is integral to PT patient/client management.

    Even after a PT evaluation has determined that DME is needed, patients often experience delays in getting a prescription by those now authorized to prescribe, the resolution argues. The delays force those individuals to remain immobile or at reduced function and safety while waiting on their DME.

    Our profession would demonstrate its commitment to patient- and client-centered care by advocating for the support of choice, access, quality, and adequate funding for DME and related services, which would include authorizing PTs as prescribers. [RC-27-13]

    Draft language adopted by the 2013 House of Delegates will be available on the House Community no later than July 12. Final language for all actions taken by the June 2013 House will be available by September after the minutes have been approved.

    See more results of the 2013 House of Delegates by following this link, or click on July 9 from the News Now calendar.


    • Excellent idea!

      Posted by Chris on 7/9/2013 2:35 PM

    • Absolutely, let's get this going!

      Posted by Jessica on 7/12/2013 3:11 PM

    • Let the advocacy efforts begin! Medicare Beneficiary Competitive Bidding Program Complaint Hotline Goes Live APTA Members and Friends, Round 2 of the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program began July 1, 2013 increasing the program to a total of 100 metropolitan statistical areas nationwide. The Competitive Bidding program ironically limits competition by eliminating large numbers of providers from the Medicare market. As a result many of the companies that you have historically worked with to obtain DME for the patients you serve will no longer be able to provide services to your Medicare patients. Many of the CMS awarded “bid winners” have no physical presence in your geographic area, are hours away, or out of state. Companies that previously could provide multiple product categories (hospital bed, oxygen, wheelchair, CPAP, walker) may now only be able to provide certain product categories because of this CMS program. Due to the average 47% fee schedule reduction access to the equipment you recommend by make/model/size may no longer be available to your patient. The biggest reason that the HME industry’s efforts to replace this flawed program with a legitimate market pricing program have not yet been successful is that Congress has not heard from Medicare beneficiaries. While there are opportunities to get the program changed, it is safe to say that NO changes will be made unless Congress hears directly from Medicare beneficiaries that they are being hurt. If you are in a Competitive Bidding Area and interact with Medicare beneficiaries who are being hurt, you need to encourage them to share their stories and contact their Members of Congress. The American Association for Homecare and People for Quality Care (PFQC), the advocacy division of the VGM Group, have partnered to offer a Beneficiary Complaint Hotline, an 800 number dedicated to Medicare beneficiaries with complaints about their access to home medical equipment and service. The line is staffed 24 hours, seven days a week by a People for Quality Care live operator, who will take the beneficiary’s name, location, and a brief summary of the issue. With the caller’s permission, the complaints will be forwarded to a local Medicare ombudsman for resolution and added to a list of complaints which will be presented to Congressional members. One suggestion is to equip all your staff (especially customer service folks) with a written concise message something along the lines of the following: “Despite the objections and efforts of many national consumer, clinician, and industry advocacy organizations Medicare has gone ahead and implemented its DME Competitive Bidding program. This is a flawed program with known problems. Unfortunately, as a result of this new program you are not able to access the products and services that we recommend and were available to you in the past. The only chance of getting the CMS Competitive Bidding program replaced with a more practical and valid alternative is if Congress hears complaints from Medicare beneficiaries like you. To help in getting the message to Congress, a national hotline has been established by the People for Quality Care to gather examples of the problems beneficiaries are encountering. So if you want to help get things changed, please call 800-404-8702 and tell them about the problems you are encountering. You can also contact your Congressional offices directly by calling the Washington, D.C. switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking to be connected to your Members offices (all you need is your zip code). Medicare beneficiaries need to be proactive or they will see their local access to quality products and services disappear. Your voice can make a difference!” A resolution of the problems with Competitive Bidding rests in the voices of Medicare beneficiaries, so be sure you and your staff are ready to point them in the right direction.

      Posted by Laura Cohen -> BMTb on 7/12/2013 5:26 PM

    • Patients were best served when we had stock DME (assistive devices) in the Physical Therapy Departments of acute care facilities to be directly issued by therapists, and billed to their insurance. The patient was issued exactly what was needed in the most timely fashion before discharge. When it was decided that that practice was inappropriate, the very same patients that I made DME recommendations for in acute care that I followed on a home health basis often had delays in delivery, but more importantly and more often than not, were delivered DME that was not per size or specs recommended by me.. For example, walkers and canes that could not be appropriately fitted to the height of the patient, Large based quad canes delivered when small based ones were ordered, and often 3 inch wheels versus recommended 5 inch wheels on wheeled walkers that increased the difficulty of use outdoors or in homes with thresholds , etc. Even the weight of standard walkers was an issue for persons with UE OA. All these factors were easily addressed when we could issue DME directly from our department - The patient immediately got exactly what they needed, and the cost of the middleman (men) was eliminated........Makes too much sense, however........

      Posted by Maria on 7/12/2013 10:38 PM

    • They think that this is money saver whereas it can increase the cost due to the need to stay an extra day or two because the equipment delivery is delayed. They also may go home without the appropriate assistive device and then will be re-admitted with a fracture thus increasing the cost to the Medicare system. I have tried to set-up service with a few companies and their service is awful. We had a dedicated DME company who gave us first rate service. Shame on the government for giving our seniors low rate care.

      Posted by Kathy on 7/15/2013 5:08 PM

    • Can anyone tell me how to get to the House Community page so I can find the results of this or any minutes? Thanks for any help. Mike.

      Posted by Mike on 3/24/2014 2:49 AM

    • This program doesn’t work and the elderly are paying the price, Congress should be ashamed of themselves they are not saving millions it’s just going to rehabs and hospital ‘s due to longer stays and readmisión’s. The documentation requirements alone for DME is a joke and most Dr’s don’t document what CMS guidelines require so elderly go without 😡

      Posted by Elba Whitley on 6/5/2018 7:22 PM

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