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DME Items including a Hospital Bed and Monitoring Equipment and a Smiling Woman Patient

What is DME?

DME, an abbreviation for Durable Medical Equipment, is substantial equipment that aids in a person's health, safety, accessibility or mobility. Unlike disposable medical supplies, DME products are meant to last for years and to be good for multiple uses. DME can be used inside a person's home, in a hospital or clinical setting, or could even be provided as a service to users in a public space. For instance, scooters are often available for use in grocery stores, and lift chairs can be furnished in waiting rooms.

DME Definition

Durable Medical Equipment (DME): Equipment used by a person recovering from or living with an ailment. DME is usually meant to withstand repeated use and is often of little use to someone without that medical need.

What are Examples of DME?

  • Hospital Beds
  • Transfer Lifts
  • Lift Chair Recliners
  • Scooters
  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers
  • Crutches
  • CPAP Machines
  • Oxygen Concentrators
  • Glucose Meters
  • Lymphedema Pumps
  • Compression Garments
  • Commode Chairs
  • Access Ramps

What is the Difference between DME and HME?

Most Home Medical Equipment (HME) devices are also DME. HME is meant to be used in or around a person's dwelling where many DME items might be designed for hospital and clinics. 

What are the Differences between Durable Medical Equipment and Disposable Medical Supplies?

The main difference between durable medical equipment and disposable medical supplies is whether the item is designed to stand up to repeated use. Cathaters, trach tubes, glucose test strips, bandages and CPAP wipes are some examples of items generally classified as disposable supplies. Conversely, commodes, ventilators, milk pumps, and walkers are typically meant to withstand repeated, daily use.

How Long is DME Supposed to Last?

While different types of durable medical equipment can have different life expectancies, a generally accepted average is about 3 years. Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies define those expectancies as a guideline for how often they will cover a DME item. Disposable medical supplies, on the other hand, are expected to be used once, sometimes a few times, then discarded.

Is DME Covered by Medicare, Medicaid or Insurance?

For many items, there are provisions for insurance companies, federal programs or state programs to cover durable medical equipment. It can be hard to know what is or isn't covered by different programs. Healthcare professionals or your local medical equipment retailer can often give great guidance on which items you could find coverage with which programs.

Where can I Find DME Near Me?

You likely have medical equipment retailers near you. These business owners are often people with a great deal of expertise and empathy. Many found their way into the DME industry through health challenges in their own lives and understand the issues you are facing. VGM partners with DME retailers and manufacturers to help their businesses serve you. VGM Forbin are the tech professionals behind the scenes helping those businesses connect with you.