How to Get Medical Equipment & How to Document Medical Equipment

10491996_682103408511763_7013581721708453434_n.jpg

If you need medical equipment, now is the time to get it! If you use medical equipment, now is the time to document it!

What type of equipment can I get?

  • Common types of medical equipment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related conditions:  Shower chairs, manual wheelchairs, electric wheel chairs, walkers, canes, mobility scooters, hospital beds, toilet rails, bath tub safety frames, bath tub lifts, bed pans, and commode chairs.
  • For other conditions crutches, braces, oxygen equipment, and a wide variety of other items can be appropriate medical equipment.

How do I find medical equipment?

  • Medicare and Medicaid have online directories that list medical supply stores and vendors for “durable medical equipment”. Some stores that accept Medicare and Medicaid don’t appear on this list though.
  • For Medicare, make sure to find a supplier that “accepts Medicare assignment.” Otherwise you may be charged a small fortune.
  • For other types of insurance, you can try contacting your insurance company or calling local medical supply stores and see if they accept your insurance.

How do I get home modifications?

  • Home modifications might include wheelchair ramps, grab bars, or other needed modifications.
  • These may not be covered by your insurance (sometimes they are). In some areas, local nonprofit organizations will offer this type of service for free. Try contacting your local Area Agency on Aging (call here even if you are young).

How do I qualify for medical equipment?

  • If you are applying for Social Security, it is much better to get your medical equipment through a doctor then to just by it yourself. If you go through a doctor, this will create documentation that can help your case.
  • Any medical doctor can examine you and write a prescription for medical equipment.
  • If you have a stay in a hospital, before you get discharged, you can try requesting to meet with a hospital Social Worker. Ask the Social Worker if it is possible to get an evaluation for medical equipment you think you need and get a written prescription or written statement of need for equipment.
  • If you are applying for something expensive (like an electric wheelchair), it’s a very good idea to contact the medical supply company before you go to your doctor. They may have special paperwork and requirements to send to the doctor before the exam. If your doctor does the wrong kind of exam, your medical equipment will get denied.

How do I pay for medical equipment?

  • Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance companies will pay for medical equipment.
  • If you wish to get your equipment covered, the best thing to do is LEARN THE RULES. See how I put that in all caps? It is very difficult to qualify for medical equipment (or for any other service or program in this world) if you don’t know the rules.
  • The rules for medical equipment should be available online on your insurance company’s website. Or you could try calling your insurance company or calling a medical supply store that accepts your insurance. (Hint: Don’t ask your doctor. Your doctor will not know the rules either)
  • If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, do not sign any kind of contract and do not pay upfront in the hopes of being reimbursed. Find a supplier that will bill your insurance directly.
  • Some items are hard to qualify for. Particularly expensive items such as electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters and hospital beds. It is not enough that your doctor says you need these things, you will need to be evaluated a certain way and meet certain criteria.
  • If you are on Medicare, you may be charged a co-pay for medical equipment. If you are also on Medicaid, medicaid will pay this co-pay. If not, check out: How to Escape Medicare Fees

How do I document equipment to Social Security?

If you are applying for Social Security, showing your need for medical equipment can help your case. You can write on your application forms about your equipment and this may be some help, but it is much better if you can provide documentation. Here’s how:

  • If you are applying for Social Security, it is much better to get your medical equipment through a doctor then to just by it yourself. If you go through a doctor, this will create documentation that can help your case.
  • You can get a prescription for your medical equipment from your doctor. Send a copy of the prescription to Social Security. Warning: Some prescription pads have safety features that will not copy well.
  • If your doctor fills out any paperwork for the medical supply store, you can request a copy and send it to Social Security.
  • If your doctor performs an exam to evaluate your need for medical equipment, make sure Social Security has the treatment notes from that exam, or get the notes yourself and send them in.
  • If your landlord or a nonprofit program installs home modifications for you (such as wheelchair ramps) you can try requesting documentation of the changes that were made.
  • If you are in a hospital, before you are discharged, you can request to meet with the hospital Social Worker and see if they can arrange for you to get a written evaluation and order for needed medical equipment.
  • Once you’ve got your documentation, don’t forget to submit it! Submitting things the right way may make your life easier in the long run: How to Submit

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s