CHA has released a summary of a recent survey of member case managers on access to durable medical equipment (DME) for traditional Medicare beneficiaries.
A 2018 CHA survey revealed that hospitals were encountering significant disruption in their ability to obtain routine items of DME to support safe and timely hospital discharge. These delays required hospitals to implement costly and time-consuming work-around strategies to meet the needs of their patients.
CHA’s follow-up survey in February 2022 was conducted in response to a request from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to determine if/how access has changed since the suspension of the competitive bidding program in 2019.
The survey found that traditional Medicare beneficiaries continue to experience significant delays and limitations in obtaining DME when being discharged from a hospital or other care setting. Many problems with access, such as reductions in the number of suppliers and restrictive delivery schedules, emerged during the competitive bidding program and have improved only to a limited degree since its suspension. In addition, survey respondents also indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters such as wildfires have negatively impacted DME access.