Best practices for educating referral sources on the FTF documentation requirements

Date Published: June 30 2015

Not only is the role of the DME provider to deliver equipment and aid in a better quality of living, it is also to educate the treating practitioners regarding Medicare and other insurance guidelines for power mobility. DME providers should turn education into an opportunity to increase referrals.

The most common methods of educating physicians include: mailing the Medicare “Dear Physician” letters; emailing CMS newsletters and in-person visits by DME providers.

The provider who uses a combination of all three methods to educate their practitioners has proven to be most successful. We have found the best results in educating the practitioner have been in-person presentations by the DME providers and printed leave behinds about coverage guidelines.

We have also found that practitioners are proficient technology users. CMS understands the usefulness of technology as an educational tool and created an electronic clinical template for PMD in November 2012. However, this template is six pages long, very cumbersome, and doesn’t indicate whether the beneficiary met the coverage requirements or not.

An online electronic template that prompts the practitioner to ask specific coverage questions while conducting a FTF visit is the way of the future. Standardized online collection (SOC) tools prompt the practitioner to ask questions regarding social, environmental and past history of the patient. SOCs require the practitioner to include pertinent tests related to the physical exam, such as manual muscle testing of the upper and lower extremities. SOCs compare all the information with Medicare’s coverage criteria using algorithms to determine medical necessity. An online program that lets practitioners know during the FTF exam which equipment, if any, the patient qualifies for is a win-win for everyone.

If DME providers approach their referral sources with an online program that takes the guesswork out of the FTF documentation requirements, they will increase their chances of future referrals. Just like DME providers, practitioners are interested in business solutions that save them time and money.

~ Jamie Loper, ATP, Chief Compliance Officer for, can be reached at 800-986-9368 or

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