ABCs of Sleep—D is for DME

DME: Durable Medical Equipment, defined as any equipment used for repeated medical therapy, especially at home. DME is acquired by prescription through an MD. DME for sleep includes PAP machines, oxygen supplementation equipment, invasive mechanical ventilators for home use, portable pulse oximeters and respiratory assist 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 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 if they are to extract benefits from their particular mechanical therapies. 

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