Medicare doesn’t allow automatic shipments of resupplies … even if the patient authorizes them. There are no changes there, but as of January 1, 2024, Medicare made the resupply process a little less onerous for DME suppliers.

Next Episode: Thursday, August 22, 2024

Medicare no longer requires patients to perform inventory counts.

In the past, suppliers needed to document the actual quantity of supplies a patient had on hand to calculate the estimated exhaustion date, and by extension, the eligibility date for any resupply.

In a recent MLN Matters article, CMS states explicitly:

“Patients don’t have to count the remaining supply.”

The patient’s estimate of need will suffice.

Going forward, suppliers simply need to contact the patient and document:

  1. The patient is still using the product,
  2. The patient (or their representative) expects the supply to run out within 30 days, and
  3. They want new supplies when the current supply is exhausted.

The above protocols also extend to non-consumable supplies. Suppliers no longer need to document why or how durable supplies are no longer functional. Customers must simply confirm they need and want additional supplies consistent with the new rules.

The contact window is now 30 days before supply exhaustion.

Before the recent rule change, suppliers had to contact the patient within 14 days of running out of supplies. CMS extended the window to 30 days, a much more reasonable timeframe to coordinate with patients.

Suppliers can use phone, text, or e-mail to meet resupply contact requirements.

CMS explicitly greenlighted text and email as authorized communication methods for satisfying the patient contact requirements. Suppliers are no longer limited to telephone conversations.

Having said that, we still think it is a good idea to vet any new communication protocol with a healthcare attorney in advance, just to make sure it captures all required elements consistent with Medicare guidance and complies with applicable HIPAA requirements. It is also important to remember that, regardless of the medium used, suppliers must capture and log patient responses in a manner that allows them to reproduce the communications as evidence in the event of an audit.

Be sure to share the new rules with your billing team to make sure your company is taking advantage of these flexibilities.