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The World of DME's
#21
(08-08-2013, 01:36 PM)SleepEZ Wrote: Also got actual part numbers that appear on the backs of the machines (on a label next to the air filter):
Manufacturer Part No: 36003 = S9 Elite
Manufacturer Part No: 36005 = S9 Autoset ONLY
Manufacturer Part No: 36025 = S9 Autoset/H5i humidifier + Climateline combo
Manufacturer Part No: 36015 = S9 Autoset/H5i humidifier

Good sleuthing, SleepEZ.

My particular machine says 36005A, but it was sold to me as a combo AutoSet + H5i + ClimateLine. It came in a single box from ResMed along with the travel bag and a spare SlimeLine hose.

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#22
Feel free to name good or bad DMEs here.

(It's only the links to or web address of their commercial websites that aren't allowed so we can continue to maintain our legal status as an educational website and forum).

Coffee

PS, make sure they don't give you an S9 Escape Auto (rather than an S9 AutoSet). Escape Autos are not the same as AutoSets.
SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


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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#23
Awful DME (in my opinion, based on personal experience): Lincare.

I have yet to have a bad experience with any on-line DME and I have done business with about 6 different ones. I had a very good experience with #4 recently - great customer service. It started out with a problem; but they made it right...very right! It's refreshing to deal with companies that actually take customer service seriously.

Oh yeah; did I mention that Lincare treated me horribly? I have a suspicion that if others were to start naming names of the DMEs that did them wrong, Lincare would be near the top of the list - if not the very top.
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#24
Thanks for continued advice. I definitely won't be settling for anything less than an S9 Autoset. In fact, got the call today that I can pick it up tomorrow. After wasting about three weeks and then changing to a new DME, it's hard to believe that it only took them 3 days from our first conversation on the phone to get it!

Since it's OK to name names, don't ever consider using Apria or recommending them to your worst enemy. They have an automated phone system that makes it very hard to get to a live person, they give vague answers, they don't call patients pro-actively, and the "therapist" we finally met who was going to set me up with my machine had the worst personality you could imagine to represent a company to their clients. He was obnoxious, didn't introduce himself by name, essentially told me I had no business researching and choosing my own machine, told me I shouldn't get the Swift FX nasal pillows with chinstrap I wanted because he favored a full-face mask, said he didn't carry chinstraps, said that I don't need the Climateline tubing because it doesn't make any difference, etc., etc. In fact, (as you might guess) he was the "straw that broke the camel's back!"

I believe the new DME is regional (MedSource), mostly located in Illinois. Unbelievable how helpful they have been so far in comparison. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did discover that they are in Chapter 11, but still operating under court supervision, "business as usual." Based on first impressions, I really hope they come out of it alright. They are what patients need.)

I almost forgot to mention, I'm working with a brick-and-mortar DME because my insurance is BCBS-IL PPO ... and to date I've not discovered any online providers that are "in network." That's important to me because I've met my deductible and out-of-pocket limits for the year and Blue Cross told my wife that everything would be paid at 100% with no charge to me as long as I stay in network.

More to come after tomorrow's appointment. Smile
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#25
(08-08-2013, 09:49 PM)SleepEZ Wrote: I almost forgot to mention, I'm working with a brick-and-mortar DME because my insurance is BCBS-IL PPO ... and to date I've not discovered any online providers that are "in network."

Online suppliers are never in network since they are not set up to provide insurance billing. You would need to submit your receipts for reimbursement. However, they are a good way to use up your FSA account at the end of the year (but of course this is irrelevant if your insurance is paying 100%).
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#26
(08-08-2013, 09:49 PM)SleepEZ Wrote: I almost forgot to mention, I'm working with a brick-and-mortar DME because my insurance is BCBS-IL PPO ... and to date I've not discovered any online providers that are "in network."

My hope is that online DME's will be able to successfully lobby the legislatures so they can be included as in-network service providers.

The problem is that the way the laws and regulations are currently written, DME's maximize their profits by providing the lowest-cost machines available. This makes it difficult for DME's who want to really help their patients compete in the market place.

Lobbyists, legislatures, and insurance companies. The three combine to make the perfect storm.
Sleepster
Apnea Board Moderator
www.ApneaBoard.com


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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#27
I learned that Medicare competitive billing contracts were awarded to: you guessed it--Lincare and Apria in this area. Here's hoping that these local DME offices are better than what I have read on forums about these companies, as I will be going on Medicare in a few months.
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#28
(08-09-2013, 12:58 PM)oak Wrote: I learned that Medicare competitive billing contracts were awarded to: you guessed it--Lincare and Apria in this area. Here's hoping that these local DME offices are better than what I have read on forums about these companies, as I will be going on Medicare in a few months.

I would suggest filing a complaint with Medicare. The more people stick up for good service the fewer of these companies will get away with treating patients badly.
Aloha,
MrCourtney
Honolulu, HI
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#29
(08-09-2013, 12:58 PM)oak Wrote: Here's hoping that these local DME offices are better than what I have read on forums about these companies, as I will be going on Medicare in a few months.

One local DME that I called seemed anxious to learn from me, so I think their knowledge of what's available isn't always great. The good thing though is that he took the time to ask me about it and look into it instead of flat out telling me "I don't have it" or "you don't need that."

I had called to ask about pulse oximeters for the S9. Turns out the ResMed gear is more costly than the machine itself and totally not worth it. Anyway, he hadn't heard of it before but he did call ResMed to find out about it. When he called back with pricing we got into a conversation about the Contec CMS pulse oximeters that people here use and about how the data can be imported into tracking software. He was very interested and started asking me about them and he wrote down some model numbers that I spat off. I think he saw an opportunity to offer something new to patients. The national DME chain would have hung up on me long before that point.
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#30
My first DME (Total Sleep) filed for liquidation. I never received any replacement parts from them and they were on;y concerned with the number of hours and days per month I had used the machine. My second DME (Symbius Medical) has been fantastic. I get a call every three months to see if I need any replacements (mask, hose, filters) and a tank every 6 months. I have what I consider to be an outstanding machine (see left). When I recently asked about getting a longer hose, they recommended I wait until my next order so the insurance would cover it (which was two weeks later). When I got my machine, they came to the house, showed both of us how to use it (even though it was just for me) and provided me with all the paperwork my doctor submitted to them as well as my sleep study - all for my records. The representative told me their local office is more of a distribution/setup location and not appropriate for fitting and education.
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