you obtain a durable medical equipment supplier number,
stop and make sure doing so is worthwhile for you, say experts.
Here are some things you should do:
at your volume and see whether you can obtain supplies cheaply
enough to allow for a profit margin at the low rates that
Medicare pays, advises Richard Papperman, owner of Cape
Professional Billing in Cape May Court House, NJ. Often,
a large DME company will buy supplies in bulk and keep their
* Figure out how many of your patients qualify for the DME
benefit and look into how much you're likely to make per
patient. "Unless you're in a heavily Medicare-populated
area where you treat conditions that use a substantial amount
of those kind of supplies for a substantial period of time,
I can't imagine that it's ever gong to make sense to do
this," cautions Joan Gilhooly, president of Medical
Business Resources in Deer Park, IL.
* See if you can join together with other practices to form
a buying group and lower your costs, Papperman suggests.
* Remember that any dressings or wound care you provide
in your office are considered bundled into other procedures
and not separately billable, notes Papperman. If the payor
"considers it part of the wound care for the surgery,
it's a freebie," he adds.
* If you're considering providing "hard" DME such
as canes or walkers, understand Medicare's complex rules
on rentals and repairs, Gilhooly urges.
* Compare the amount of profit per square foot your practice
could make on DME with the per-foot profit margin you could
gain from other services, Gilhooly adds.
practice already provides orthotics and braces, then adding
other supplies to the mix may make sense, Gilhooly notes.
But for most providers, obtaining a DME number may be more
trouble than it's worth.