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In The Money:
DME Dispensing

What is Durable Medical Equipment (DME):

  • A health care device that helps a person with a mobility limitation to conduct activities in their home and community
  • Products designed for repeated use
  • Soft goods such as braces, splints, boots and supports
  • Covered by most 3rd party insurance and medicare

Based on the aging of the U.S. population and advances in technology making medical equipment more appealing, demand for DME has risen at extremely robust rates. It is probable that at least 20 percent of all patients will require prescription DME products. Additionally, it is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans experience foot problems at any one time and 36% will seek medical attention from one of the 15,000 practicing podiatrists, translating into a $16 billion
dollar industry.

Additionally, podiatry DME products have high usage among diabetics. According to the World Health Organization (who), in 2005 there was an estimated 20.8 million people in the U.S. with diabetes. The Center for Disease Control (cdc) predicts that 1 in 3 Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes during his or her lifetime.

“…at least 20 percent of all patients will require
prescription DME products. Additionally, it is
estimated that 1 in 6 Americans experience
foot problems…”

As these rates continue to climb and aging Americans demand better quality of life, podiatrists have the opportunity to take control of their practice while
simultaneously minimizing potential foot health issues of their patients through the prescription of value-added DME products. Patients will benefit from in-office
dispensing as well. The convenience of point-of-service sales greatly enhances patient adherence with the use of DME products. Meanwhile, manufacturers have taken their message direct to the consumer through advertising and marketing campaigns created at bypassing the prescribing physician which has led to consumer confusion and frustration. Patients are likely overwhelmed by the many available product choices and the untrained consumer is likely to purchase an expensive product that fails to deliver the desired result. Above all, patients appreciate their physician’s counsel with regard to product selection.

In today’s contracting economy, with the number of insured’s diminishing and the increasing number of fee restrictions and reductions dpm ’s must evolve. Physicians should resist the urge to outsource; rather, you should capitalize on both need and demand to better serve your expanding patient communities. Why relinquish this revenue stream with a stock and bill vendor, or even worse not prescribe at all. Enjoy the DME revenue stream that you are entitled to for your practice.

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