Accreditation isn't enough

Monday, December 1, 2014

You can’t get married without a license from the state. You cannot even own an automobile or drive that automobile without a state license. But you can put up a sign a saying “Joe’s DME” and you are a dealer.

I believe every DME/HME provider must earn a license indicating they have met specific standards to be recognized as a provider.

DME/HME providers are treating sick and housebound patients who require oxygen and special care. This requires a professional provider who will work very closely with the patient, just the same as a pharmacist, physician or nurse does.

To become a registered pharmacist, I attended a college of pharmacy for four years. Then I served one year as an apprentice before I was allowed to obtain my license. Colleges today offer courses to become a physician’s assistant or a pharmacy tech. Why not for DME/HME?

There are no formal regulations for DME/HME providers other than accreditation, which is a giant step forward. The states must include this in their requirements to issue a license. However, as it stands today, accreditation does not have the necessary strength to fully control the industry. This lack of muscle defeats its purpose. Licensure provides the ability to suspend or lose a license when a dealer goes astray.

—Shelly Prial