WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2020)—The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has streamlined DMEPOS Medicare order requirements, replacing multiple order types with a Standard Written Order (SWO), as of Jan. 1, 2020.

The SWO will replace the following types of orders: preliminary/dispensing order, Detailed Written Order (DWO), Five Element Order (5EO)/Written Order Prior to Delivery (WOPD), Seven Element Order (7EO), and Detailed Product Description (DPD). SWOs must include the following elements:

  • Beneficiary's name or Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)
  • Order Date
  • General description of the item
  • The description can be either a general description (e.g., wheelchair or hospital bed), a HCPCS code, a HCPCS code narrative, or a brand name/model number
  • For equipment - In addition to the description of the base item, the SWO may include all concurrently ordered options, accessories or additional features that are separately billed or require an upgraded code (List each separately).
  • For supplies - In addition to the description of the base item, the DMEPOS order/prescription may include all concurrently ordered supplies that are separately billed (List each separately)
  • Quantity to be dispensed, if applicable
  • Treating Practitioner Name or National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • Treating practitioner's signature

The SWO is intended to reduce supplier burden by unifying written order/prescription elements for all DMEPOS items. However, the required timeline of the orders will continue to differ depending on the item. The DME MACs are still in the process of updating all resources regarding this change. You can find Noridian’s announcement here.

The new guidance offers these benefits: fewer elements will be required on all orders, the elements are standardized, and there is flexibility for doctor name or NPI, and for beneficiary name or MBI, said AAHomecare in a statement.

Some questions remain on many of the instructions that have been issued so far from the DME MACs. AAHomecare has convened a subgroup to evaluate the guidance issued and will work with the DME MACs for additional clarification.  

The advocacy group believes this is positive development for the home medical equipment industry and after additional clarification on some of the elements, suppliers will be able to implement an easier order process, read a recent news release.

Visit aahomecare.org for more information.