CMS Delays DME Orders Rule

On September 9, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will delay active enforcement and full compliance of a new rule that would require that a physician approve many clinical nurse specialists’ durable medical equipment (DME) orders. CMS announced the rule will be delayed until an unspecified date in 2014.

As written, the rule specifies that providers must conduct a face-to-face visit with a Medicare patient within six months prior to ordering certain DME for them.

This new rule also requires that a physician document this visit by signing or co-signing a patient’s medical record to corroborate that a face-to-face visit occurred. The effect is that a physician must approve many DME orders for Medicare patients by a CNS, including certain hospital beds, wheelchairs, and oxygen systems, as well as prosthetic devices, orthotics and prosthetics.

Requiring CNSs and other providers to get a physician’s signature for many DME orders creates unnecessary costs and causes delays for patients and providers.

Thanks to the many CNSs who reached out to their Congressional Representatives about this rule and the work of OCCNS’ state and national partners, this rule has been delayed twice.

ONA and OCCNS will continue to work with CMS, our national partners, and Congress to permanently remove barriers to CNS practice, including the physician signature requirement for CNSs’ DME orders.

Thank you for your advocacy.