November 20, 2015
Most Frequently Asked Questions on Obtaining Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
Who do I talk to?
If your child is already receiving physical therapy services, you are encouraged to first discuss this question with your Physical Therapist. He or she is familiar with your child and can offer you their recommendations and options for features based on your child’s current particular abilities and needs to help with positioning and/or mobility. If your child is not receiving PT services, you may want to request that your child’s doctor refer your child for a PT evaluation which will include any potential equipment needs. Your child may need physical therapy services only to meet equipment needs. In some cases, such as with wheelchairs, some physical and occupational therapists are both experienced and specialized in such.
Will I be included in the equipment choices for my child?
Yes. As the parent, you are an important member of the team that determines what device will best meet your child’s needs. Things like your child’s likes and dislikes, whether they attend school, space available in your home, number of caregivers, or type of vehicle you drive can all be important things to consider.
How does the process of getting my child this equipment work?
Trials: Your therapist may want to have your child practice in a similar device for a few visits or weeks to make sure it will meet his needs appropriately. Your therapist may contact a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Provider to provide a “demo” or “loaner” to your child for this.
Will my insurance pay for the equipment?
In many, if not most cases, private insurance as well as Medicaid will pay for a device with the proper documentation submitted by your therapist. This evaluation or “Letter of Medical Necessity” explains how the device’s features will meet the needs of your child. This letter is then sent to your child’s doctor and insurance, for their approval.
How long does it take to receive and how does my child get the equipment?
It usually takes several weeks to a couple of months to receive a stander, bath chair, or wheelchair. If approved by your insurance for funding, the DME will set up an appointment to deliver the device to your child, either to clinic or home, to ensure everything fits correctly and you are comfortable operating the device safely. It is recommended that the therapist who evaluated your child for the device be present to assist. Regardless of whether your child continues to need therapy or not, the DME who provides the equipment is available to assist you and your child with any future repairs, etc. of the device for the life of the device.