This post first appeared February 7, 2015 and was updated on July 12, 2017.
DME: Durable Medical Equipment*
This term defines any equipment used for repeated medical therapy, especially at home. DME is acquired by prescription through an MD.
For sleep concerns, DME typically includes PAP machines, oxygen supplementation equipment, invasive mechanical ventilators for home use, portable pulse oximeters, and respiratory assistance devices.
What’s important to note is that DME used for home health services may be reimbursable under Medicare’s Part A and Part B plans.
There are also nonMedicare DME suppliers in the field of sleep medicine; their products ideally (but voluntarily) undergo an accreditation process through the American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) in order to show a commitment to quality control and patient support.
Sleep patients with a need for daily therapeutic equipment such as CPAP have an ongoing relationship with a DME provider either directly or through their connection with a local hospital or free-standing sleep lab or clinic.
Some DME providers are more vigilant than others about servicing patient equipment and helping with general compliance, fit, and replacements.
When it comes to DME, sleep patients should demand the highest level of customer service and quality assurance from providers if they are to extract benefits from their particular mechanical therapies.
This includes confirming that DME specialists have board-certified backgrounds in sleep technology or clinical sleep health education.
Links to learn more
- Durable medical equipment (DME) || Medicare.gov
- DME Accreditation || American Association of Sleep Medicine
- Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and the Sleep Center || Sleep Resolutions
- Caught Between DME, Doctor and Sleep Lab and Nobody Stepping Up || Sleep Guide forum