Medicare defines “Durable Medical Equipment” (DME) as items that are:
- Durable (Covered items must be able to withstand repeated use. Items that are “single-use” in nature are not covered as DME); and
- Appropriate for use in the “home” (Primarily used at home, but not exclusively); and
- Primarily and customarily needed for a medical purpose (generally the DME is not useful to someone who is not sick or injured); and
- Necessary and reasonable for treatment of a condition or injury. (Comfort/convenience items, physical fitness or self-help equipment, and devices and equipment used for environmental control are not covered.)
Medicare’s definitions and coverage of DME can be complicated. The Center for Medicare Advocacy has created a Beneficiary Guide and Checklist of questions to ask suppliers (also included in the Guide) to help understand and obtain DME coverage. Download them at the links below.