DME (Durable Medical Equipment)

DME (Durable Medical Equipment)

Diabetic Shoes

by Connie Taylor on 10/05/16

What is so special about Diabetic Shoes?

According to the American Diabetic Association, nearly 5 million Americans currently suffering from Diabetes will develop foot problems as a result of diabetic complications.  Many people with numbness in their feet (known as Diabetic Neuropathy) don't realize just how much their feet might be at risk.

A lot of times it only takes a few hours to develop a sore, which could develop into an ulcer on the foot due to badly fitting shoes.  When skin damage starts to occur, the body would normally begin to heal the damage, but because of poor circulation in those who are diabetic, the body has a hard time healing.  This can cause an infection which makes the situation worse.  If the infection spreads or it isn’t possible to heal the ulcer, amputation may be needed.

 In 1993, Medicare began covering most of the cost of one pair of Diabetic shoes per year.  The CDC states that since the 1990’s, the rate of amputations due to complications from diabetes has fallen by more than half.

So what is so special about Diabetic Shoes?  Why are they so expensive?  Simply stated – They are made differently.

  1.  The shoes are made of leather or other breathable synthetic fabric.
  2.  They are wider and deeper in the toe box than regular shoes to make room for special diabetic insoles.  The diabetic insoles are to minimize rubbing and uneven weight distribution.
  3. Diabetic Shoes are designed with either no interior seams or covered seams to prevent rubbing injuries.
  4. The shoes have to have either a Velcro or lace-up closure to allow for easily adjustable fit and prevent the feet from sliding around.
  5. The soles are thicker and wider to cushion the feet from wear and tear.

 It is very important that Diabetics have their shoes custom fitted by a trained professional since they may not be able to feel an improper fit due to Neuropathy.  Also, consider waiting until the afternoon to shop for Diabetic Shoes.  Feet tend to swell later in the day.

Finally, always try on the Diabetic shoes before leaving the store to make sure they fit properly.

Fall Prevention

by Connie Taylor on 09/19/16

Did you know that one in 3 adults aged 65 or older fall each year?  Older adults are hospitalized for fall related injuries 5 times more than for any other injuries. Falls are the main cause of broken bones and head injuries. Over 60% of falls happen at home and most of those occur in the bathroom.

The good news is that most of these falls can be prevented.  Be proactive!  With just a few easy fixes, many injuries could be avoided.  Below is a list of bathroom safety tips from the CDC:
  • Never lock your bathroom door.  It could prevent help from reaching you promptly.  Instead, use a Do Not Disturb sign.
  • Use an elevated toilet seat on the commode and a tub grab bar to get in and out of the bathtub.
  • A bath bench with a back provides comfort and safety when bathing or showering.  This should be used with an 84" long, hand held shower.
  • Use a non-skid bath mat in the bathtub and the shower floor.
  • Set the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees or lower to avoid scalds.
  • Use shower gel instead of bar soap that can slip out of your hands and on to the floor.
  • Install a nightlight that comes on automatically in dim light.
  • Mark water faucets clearly with "hot" and "cold" labels.
  • Replace faucet handles with easy-to-use levers.
Plaza Home Care offers a full line of bathroom aides.  Come by and see what's available.

Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program

by Connie Taylor on 08/30/16

Some of you may have already had a situation where you walked into a medical equipment supplier for a piece of equipment your doctor prescribed only to be told the supplier couldn't bill Medicare for that item anymore.  You were then sent to another provider, probably in a different town or county, who would be able to help you.  This was due to Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program.

I will try to explain what this Program means.  All of the information I'm about to give you is from Medicare's website. ( To begin with, Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program only applies to Traditional Medicare participants and home medical equipment & supplies.  How do you know if you have Traditional Medicare?  If you go to the doctor's office and hand them a red, white and blue insurance card with your name and Medicare number on it, you have Traditional Medicare. 

The Competitive Bidding Program was first introduced in 2003 under the "Medicare Modernization Act".  Prior to Competitive Bidding starting, any provider with a Medicare supplier number could submit claims to Medicare. After Competitive Bidding started, any supplier who wanted to provide equipment (like hospital beds or oxygen) to Medicare patients had to submit a bid to Medicare. From those suppliers, Medicare gave contracts to only a few.  The first round of bidding went into effect on July 1, 2013.  

The second round of Competitive Bidding went in to effect on July 1, 2016. Medicare added more equipment to the list that only contracted suppliers could provide.

I realize that all of this sounds pretty grim, but there are ways around it.  Medicare Advantage plans are NOT included in Competitive Bidding.  This is something to consider when Medicare has it's open enrollment in the fall.  Your local insurance representative will be able to help you pick out a plan that is right for your needs. 

You can also ask your medical equipment supplier which Medicare Advantage plans are easiest to work with if you should have a need for equipment or supplies.  We at Plaza Home Care are always happy to try and help someone with questions.  

Where To Begin

by Connie Taylor on 08/16/16

So why did I feel the need to start a blog about medical equipment and supplies?  I was just amazed how little information was out there.  The average consumer knows about prescription insurance, hospital coverage or which doctor they can go to.  However, if you ask them what is the difference between Medicaid, Medicare and Medicare Advantage, Competitive Bidding or how to get medical equipment, most will give you a blank stare.  Why? Simply put, no one has taken the time to explained it to them.

So you might be wondering what qualifies me to discuss home medical equipment and supplies. Well, in 2005 I started working at what was then a pharmacy with a medical equipment and supply department.  I had to read insurance policy manuals, speak to insurance reps daily(a level of hell unto itself), go to seminars, go through certification (twice) and stay up to date on any changes  happening with the insurance carriers we work with.  Please note that we may know a lot about the rules and regulations, but we still don't everything!

The goal of this blog is to inform patients, caregivers and families. We want to give you information about medical equipment, insurance and give you some helpful hints that may prove useful.