The DME Challenge Part 2

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Written by: Christine Fitzgerald, Community Advocate, Silicon Valley Independent Living Center

Not all situations and needs are the same, and this extends to medical needs.  Without insurance coverage, many would be forced to choose between DME and basic needs, like food or housing.  As it is, many people already have to make this choice between purchasing food or buying their medications.

group of people with disabilities holding signs that state "Medicaid Matters! Health care is a human right"

Non-Profit organizations, like our Independent Living Centers (ILCs), would be put into an ever growing job as “broker”, connecting those who need DME or other medical equipment to those who have it available.  I can’t speak for other ILCs, but even though we have a beautiful new office, we don’t have, nor will we ever have, unlimited space to house all of this equipment.

There might be other funding streams that can be tapped into to help pay for the equipment needed, and often gently used equipment can be found.  However, where does this leave folks that need more personalized equipment or other items that are DME, but cannot be shared or reused- like urological equipment? All of these things need to be covered!

Durable Medical Equipment covers many things. It covers one-time purchases, like walkers, hospital-style adjustable beds, and wheelchairs.  DME can also cover on-going repeat needs such as catheters and other urological supplies.  To NOT have access to these things and other medical needs, like medication, would force many of us into a crisis mode- even to the point of a medical emergency.  I don’t know about you, but I do not plan to need more than what I need now. However, life is unexpected, and I don’t want to be stuck without access to something that I might need!

women in wheelchair holding a sign that states "Medicare and Medicaid= health security for elderly and disabled"***Note from editor: Ability Tools invites readers to get involved in advocacy and have your voices heard. There are a variety of issues that impact people with disabilities every day. To learn more or to get involved in a local advocacy team visit the DO Network or follow them in Facebook or Twitter.


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