Choosing the Right Home Medical Equipment Provider
Disclaimer: This is a sampling of information. Please refer to the CMS website (www.cms.gov) and consult your own experts for additional information.
Choosing the Right Home Medical Equipment Provider can be a difficult task. We encourage you to be proactive in finding the best DME provider for you and the best equipment for your needs. Some general questions to follow as a guideline to choose the right home medical equipment provider are below.
Staffing- Is there enough staff or will they come to your home?
You should always know how many trained professionals are employed by the company you are considering. If you often have questions about your equipment, you will want to direct them directly to a specialist. Also ask how long they have been there (high turnover is a warning sign).
Travel- How will you obtain supplies across the country / world?
If you love traveling (who doesn't?), you'll want to inquire about a company's network of locations and their travel policies. Consider questions like: Do they have many branch offices across the country? Do they all carry comparable equipment? Don't always assume that your equipment is available from one location to the next. Ask these questions before you commit.
The largest DME suppliers have a network of offices across the country. Smaller, regional suppliers are typically linked to a network of other smaller, regional providers to provide service to the traveler. For most travelers, there is no extra charge, but always check first.
Responsiveness- How quick and helpful are they?
When you are calling to determine a company's services and personality consider the following questions. Does a “real" person answer your phone calls? (good) Do you have to navigate a complicated voice system? (Bad for emergencies) When and if you reach someone, are they helpful? Did you get the call back with a follow-up? If you feel like you are getting the “run-around" or they seem “too busy" to help, this will tell you a great deal about the service you might expect.
Service- What is their schedule and criteria for a fill or delivery?
It is common that a lot of DME need refills and deliveries and you want to be sure that this company can meet your needs. Some larger suppliers may only come weekly or every two weeks while others may have fewer hard and fast rules about this. Many of us like to keep enough supplies on hand in case of emergencies or interruptions in service. Find out what service they can give you.
Emergencies- Who will you call?
Most DME suppliers do not deliver supplies on the weekend except in emergency situations. You'll want to ask about this and also find out if a specialist is on call after hours.
In summary, we encourage you to be proactive in finding the best DME provider for you and the best equipment for your needs. Don't assume a national chain will give better service than a regional firm. One office of a large chain can provide excellent service while another office may be ranked very low. If you make a few calls and do some homework, you'll stand a better chance of finding a good supplier that will serve you well.