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Changing DME providers
#1
Changing DME providers
While my wife is starting to go on her CPAP journey, which she is doing well, She and I are transferring our business from our local DME to one over in a metro area, which is much larger than our town. I read so many times in threads about the dissatisfaction with DME providers that I thought I might share my experience, with details, about the transition. I don't know if anyone would like to read about it, so I ask. Would anyone like to hear about what the process is and why I've chosen to change things up? Kindly let me know.
Jesse


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#2
RE: Changing DME providers
Write away. We can always learn from other's experience.
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#3
RE: Changing DME providers
JesseLee, although I'm not able to learn from other's experiences I still would like to hear about your (plural) experience. And I hope that yours is different from mine: I despise the technician at the small-city DME supplier who "serviced" me in 2012 but I'm finding that the huge (claims to be the largest) DME who I've dealt with the past few weeks is every bit as bad -- particularly in the broken promises category.

Crossing fingers that I will hear some delightful anecdotes!
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#4
RE: Changing DME providers
Sure, I'd be interested to hear how your journey from one DME to another took place. Maybe it can be educational for lots of us. DME changes do happen, either for the bad reason that they're not meeting the patients needs, or due to other things like moving.

Coffee
Dave

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#5
RE: Changing DME providers
Include whether you had regular insurance or Medicare. This often makes a difference. Smile
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#6
RE: Changing DME providers
(03-15-2018, 06:30 PM)ShaunBlake Wrote: Crossing fingers that I will hear some delightful anecdotes!

You are only as dependent on a DME as your dependence on insurance coverage incentivizes you to be.  The less they pay, the more attractive self-financing becomes.  The best service in the world is "your choice".  So do the math.  Is it worth it.  If so, then you bought the aggravation. Deal with it. If it's not worth it, you're a free man; why are you complaining?

Yours truely
A fully covered free-market advocate (institutionally enslaved)
Sleeprider
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#7
RE: Changing DME providers
Back in October 2017 I went to my doctor with sinusitis and other allergy related stuff, and per the advice of Apnea Board, I decided to get a prescription for a P10 nasal pillows and headgear. My doctor wrote the prescription without hesitation. I took the prescription to the DME to have them dispense the new headgear and stop the full face mask orders for a few months. I was due for full headgear replacement in November so it was plenty of time between October and November to do whatever the DME had to do in order for me to start receiving the new headgear and pillows.

I waited and waited for a call after I hand delivered the prescription but since the phone wasn't ringing I decided to call them. The DME is set up with satellite offices and the one in my town is a dispensary while the business offices are a couple of hours up the road. When I called up the road I talked to someone and asked about the status. It was the first time the new order had been looked at. After a brief discussion about replacement schedules and insurance (we have regular insurance) I was clear to receive the P10. However, Resmed products aren't typically dispensed by the DME, so I was informed that they would have to get a credit or debit card on file before so they could cover the costs of shipping. No. That leaves the door wide open for the DME to bill my card for sending me supplies, which insurance covers. Note, I'm already receiving a monthly shipment of supplies, no extra charge. When this conversation happened I was well managed for allergies and the P10 would just be a trial to see if I liked it. I decided to cancel the order and tell them to hold the prescription but maintain the current orders for Simplus ffm. This experience left a bad taste in my mouth because I didn't think it was legit sounding for one, it didn't make sense to start charging for supply shipments for two and finally, I don't want them to have the keys to my credit card!

S. (The wifey) has been prescribed an APAP since the end of January 2018, or early February. Since I was already using the DME locally, we had her prescription sent there. Again, we waited and waited. After a solid month I asked S. to give them a call. They said that they were waiting on insurance and they will call soon as they get confirmation. A week later, I asked her to call again, I think it was a Monday. Same waiting on insurance message and we'll call you back. Nothing for a few days so I had her to call again and the same message. We waited till Wednesday the following week and I decided to get her to call again. They said “we are working on your account and we will get back to you when we can.” So S. Is getting the anxiety and she's getting upset which got me upset.

By the time this all went down with the phone calls on a daily frequency, I already had S. setup on my Dreamstation Auto and was beginning titration. She was doing well with the machine but the mask was bothering her. Since the local DME was limited to a couple of masks and one machine, we hopped in the car and went to Patient Aids.

Patient Aids is equipped with a full line of Resmed face masks. They have the entire line displayed nicely behind the counter behind the front desk and they keep the entire line stocked on site. I was greeted and welcomed by the gentleman behind the counter. We told him we were looking for a complete mask and headgear as her F10 was a used one and it was a medium. She requires a small. He retrieved a F10 cushion from the back room and opened the brand new package. He asked her to try it on her face to see if it was going to work. She was iffy (as usual :-)) and he said “hang on a minute” and walked to the back room. He returned with 2 other people. The 3 persons were now standing around S. looking at her face and sizing her up. They were wonderful! So they (3 people and S.) came to the conclusion that a small F20 and headgear was appropriate and it was settled. We had a brand new F20 parked on the checkout desk along with a package that contained her prescription and sleep study. $110 bucks in hand and about to make the purchase. The young lady came in from the backroom and she was holding a demo model of the F20 in her hand. She told us not to buy the new mask and headgear. She added that we should try the demo for a week and come back to the store to make a final decision as she said that was the best thing to do. No purchase required at this time.

I was hooked immediately! Hooked I tell ya! That kind of customer service is genuine in good human spirit. I just witnessed a young lady do the right thing for no reason. Patient Aids had just earned themselves 2 new customers on the spot.

Since we had prescription and sleep study for S. In hand, I started the process of changing from local DME to Patient Aids. You are required to have prescription and sleep study along with insurance cards to initiate the process of becoming a new patient of a DME.

The new DME contacts the old DME to verify information and the old DME has to release the patient to the care of the new DME. This process requires the consent of the patient in the form of a medical records release form signed by the patient. The new DME will ask for the medical records from the prescribing doctor if necessary and a medical records release form has to be on file with that doctor, as well as any other doctor who may have records needed for therapy and care of the paient.

After the paperwork is shuffled, the new DME will setup an appointment for new patient intake. This is the point where me and the wife are.

Our local DME contacted us today and said that they received authorization for S. to receive her machine. I called Patient Aids immediately and asked them what we should do because the process was already done with the old (local) DME. I was informed that Patient Aids had contacted old DME and old DME was trying to figure out how to cancel the authorization. (I forgot to mention that the same day we got S. prescription and sleep study I gathered mine and started my transition as well. Me and S. Share all the same Doctors and services.) So I thought that I better take matters more firmly into my grasp.

The issue that I have is that there are too many hands in the process now. Old DME needs this, and old DME offices are 2 hours up the road, and new DME needs old DME to do that. New DME is frustrated because old DME doesn't have a central contact. Old DME is uncaring because why should they be? They are losing the customer ($$). And back and forth it goes. The best thing that I could do was get face to face with old DME. So I did. I went down to old DME and talked to A. She's a sweetheart and a local girl that is easy to talk to. I told her everything and why we were dropping her company, politely, and she obliged by getting on the phone and contacting her business offices (while I waited patiently).

By doing this, I have eliminated the run around. The old DME now has me as a contact for everything happening. I will be the funnel for information as it goes from old DME to new DME. Since A. knows that I will show up if I don't hear anything tomorrow, I bet I get results much quicker. I can call old DME and talk to one person (A.) and then let new DME know where old DME stands and vice versa. I've become a mediator to my own affairs. This helps all partys as well as keeps the process moving and communications are solid and have a specific conduit.

In summary, dealing with a sorry DME is the norm. It doesn't have to be that way. I found an excellent DME named Patient Aids. I've had to do some work of my own to move the process along but it's really just a couple of face to face talks and a few more phone calls. It's a complicated process but it's what we have. If you have a DME that's not doing well enough for you, go shopping. Try finding a DME in a more competitive market. Try to entice a prospective DME in earning your business by letting them know that you will find someone else to do business with.

Do what you can to empower yourself to take charge in your own healthcare. Finding a DME that will honor my needs is one way that I chose to empower myself.
Jesse


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#8
RE: Changing DME providers
Wow you were so calm and rational. How boring. I was waiting for the action. Bodies flying, punches thrown.    Eat-popcorn 


Thanks for sharing. Always amazed when someone actually finds a DME they like. Congrat's on that and good job on following through.
Download SleepyHead
Organize your Sleepyhead Charts
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5
Advisory Members serve as an "Advisory Committee" to help shape Apnea Board's rules & policies.

Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.



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#9
RE: Changing DME providers
(03-15-2018, 10:16 PM)Walla Walla Wrote: Wow you were so calm and rational. How boring. I was waiting for the action. Bodies flying, punches thrown.    Eat-popcorn 


Thanks for sharing. Always amazed when someone actually finds a DME they like. Congrat's on that and good job on following through.

"Speak softly, and carry a big stick"

Teddy Roosevelt

I like to clean my fingernails with my Bowie knife, too. Especially while out in public.
Jesse


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#10
RE: Changing DME providers
Bravo JesseLee. Thanks for the share. DME interaction mostly does induce what Walla Walla was hoping to see. My personal DME interaction has diminished to them calling every so often to gave me verify supply re-orders, so insurance would pay for them that is. That's it.

lots-o-coffee
Dave

OSCAR
Standard OSCAR Chart Order
Mask Primer
Dealing With A DME
Soft Cervical Collar Wiki
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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