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Accreditation: Educate staff on rentals

Accreditation: Educate staff on rentals

Tim SafleyQ. As a provider approved by Medicare, am I obligated to offer rental equipment to Medicare beneficiaries?  

A. Medicare Supplier Standard 5 states that the supplier advises beneficiaries that they may either rent or purchase inexpensive or routinely purchased durable medical equipment, and of the purchase option for capped rental durable medical equipment, as defined in §414.220(a) of this subchapter. (The supplier must provide, upon request, documentation that it has provided beneficiaries with this information, in the form of copies of letters, logs or signed notices.)  

This is relevant to equipment that most HME suppliers offer for sale only. Examples include walkers, commodes and custom wheelchairs, among other items. Your company can choose not to rent these, but you remain obligated to inform the beneficiary that Medicare allows for rental of the item. The customer can then choose to make the purchase, or they can look for a supplier organization that rents the item. So, few offer these items as rentals that most customers will opt to purchase. Businesses are then obligated to maintain a record that the beneficiary was informed and chose the purchase option. 

For capped rental items, the situation is almost the opposite. There is equipment that Medicare will rent for 13 months and at the end of that period, it becomes the property of the beneficiary – basically, a “rent to own” program. Examples of these items are hospital beds, CPAP machines, nebulizers, etc. If the beneficiary prefers to purchase an item available through Medicare as a capped rental item, they will need to sign a waiver of liability or Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN) and pay for it out of pocket. Medicare will only rent the item.  

Educate your staff on the requirements and make sure your company has a policy that outlines the procedures to follow regarding relevant documentation. 

 Tim Safley is program director for DMEPOS and Sleep Accreditation with Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. (ACHC). 


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