When chronic ailments set in, the focus turns to care that supports comfort, symptom minimization, and stabilization. Especially for the elderly, the goal is often to stay out of medical facilities as much as possible and try to return to a normal life, preferably at home.
To this end, most medical facilities and providers work hard to set patients up with everything they need to manage their medical care safely and effectively at home. For some patients, this means quite a bit of equipment, known as durable medical equipment or DME.
What Does DME Stand for in Medicine?
DME is a medical abbreviation that stands for durable medical equipment.
What Is Durable Medical Equipment (DME)?
Durable medical equipment can include any medical equipment that is used to help someone manage their medical issues at home.
For example, DME might include the following:
- Wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or crutches
- Blood sugar meters and testing strips or other testing paraphernalia
- Oxygen equipment
- Continuous positive airway pressure machines (CPAP)
- Hospital beds and commode chairs
Legal Issues and DME
For the most part, DME is covered by Medicare, making it easy for anyone to get what they need regardless of their financial status. However, there are situations in which the medical professionals who provide or prescribe the DME may face legal trouble.
The issues come for prescribing medical professionals if there is any perceived attempt to defraud the government of money. For example, if a doctor orders a patient to rent a bunch of DME from a company that is owned by a family member or a company they are invested in, this is illegal even if the patient genuinely needs the equipment. Should it be determined that the patient did not legitimately need the equipment or didn’t need to test as often as recommended, further charges may apply.
Owners of the business that rents the durable medical equipment to patients and their families may face litigation from the patient and/ or family members if the machinery malfunctions and causes harm to the patient or loss of life.
If there are recurring complaints from patients or their families about the quality of the machinery or the service provided by the company, it could result in an investigation, fines, jail time, and the business being shut down depending on the severity of the crime.
Be Proactive: Legal Support for the Medical Industry
If you are concerned that you or your business may be committing fraud or other acts that may result in litigation, set up a consultation with Florida Healthcare Law Firm today to discuss the changes you can make to protect yourself going forward.
If you are currently facing litigation or an investigation, Florida Healthcare Law Firm can help you respond to the charges and defend you, if necessary.