By Aimee Sterk, LMSW, MATP
There are a couple options to help you advocate for your needs for assistive technology (AT) or durable medical equipment (DME) in Michigan.
If you have a MI Health Link Plan (a combination of Medicare and Medicaid) the MI Health Link Ombudsman Program is here to help you access the DME you need if you have been denied coverage or are having trouble getting what you need. Call them directly—lawyers answer all the calls and are ready to help—at 888-746-6456.
If you need help getting AT or DME through your school system, community mental health, Medicare, Medicaid, or Michigan Rehabilitation Services (if employment related), contact Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services’ AT team at 800-288-5923.
The following is from Justice In Aging—please share your stories about trouble getting durable medical equipment (DME) from Medicare and Medicaid. Also share your ideas on fixing the access problems. The deadline is August 23.
Consumers with both Medicare and Medicaid face recurring problems getting approval for Durable Medical Equipment (DME), getting repairs, and finding reliable suppliers. DME includes many vital items, such as wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, home oxygen equipment, and even diabetes test strips used with a glucose monitor. After dialogue with advocates about these problems, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a Request for Information seeking more information about problems accessing these vital forms of equipment.
This is a very important opportunity to tell CMS what isn’t working and to improve access to DME. Please consider commenting and share this opportunity with others, both advocates and consumers, who can provide input to CMS.
The deadline for comments is August 23.
CMS noted some of the obstacles facing dual eligibles in getting access to DME including:
- Conflicting DME approval processes for Medicare and Medicaid
- DME access problems for people who have Medicaid first and then become eligible for Medicare
- Getting coverage for repairs, particularly getting Medicare coverage for an item originally obtained through Medicaid
- Differences between Medicare and Medicaid approved suppliers (many providers are approved for one program, but not the other)
The agency asked for examples of these problems, as well as suggestions for legislative and administrative measures that could remedy the issue.
The full list of CMS questions is here. It is very open-ended. We hope that policy advocates will talk about trends they see and specific policy changes that would help. We also hope that consumers who can recount first hand problems will respond (but since comments are public – please don’t include personal information such as a Medicare number).
File your comments on Regulations.gov. Directions on how to file are found here. It is simple. Comments can be short or long and do not need to be formal.
Please take advantage of this chance to help make DME more accessible to dual eligible beneficiaries!