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January 28, 2021

Items Provided on a Recurring Basis and Request for Refill Requirements – Annual Reminder – January 2021

Joint DME MAC Publication


For all DMEPOS items and supplies provided on a recurring basis, billing must be based on prospective, not retrospective use. For DMEPOS products that are supplied as refills to the original order, suppliers must contact the beneficiary prior to dispensing the refill and not automatically ship on a pre-determined basis, even if authorized by the beneficiary. This shall be done to ensure that the refilled item remains reasonable and necessary, existing supplies are approaching exhaustion, and to confirm any changes or modifications to the order. Contact with the beneficiary or designee regarding refills must take place no sooner than 14 calendar days prior to the delivery/shipping date. For delivery of refills, the supplier must deliver the DMEPOS product no sooner than 10 calendar days prior to the end of usage for the current product. This is regardless of which delivery method is utilized.

For all DMEPOS items that are provided on a recurring basis, suppliers are required to have contact with the beneficiary or caregiver/designee prior to dispensing a new supply of items. Suppliers must not deliver refills without a refill request from a beneficiary. Items delivered without a valid, documented refill request will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.

Suppliers must not dispense a quantity of supplies exceeding a beneficiary's expected utilization. Suppliers must stay attuned to changed or atypical utilization patterns on the part of their clients. Suppliers must verify with the ordering practitioners that any changed or atypical utilization is warranted. Regardless of utilization, a supplier must not dispense more than a one- or three-month quantity at a time. See below for billing frequencies.

Documentation Requirements

A routine refill prescription is not needed. A new order/prescription is required:

  • For all claims for purchases or initial rentals;
  • If there is a change in the DMEPOS order/prescription (e.g. quantity);
  • On a regular basis (even if there is no change in the order/prescription) only if it is so specified in the documentation section of a particular medical policy;
  • When an item is replaced; and
  • When there is a change in the supplier, and the new supplier is unable to obtain a copy of a valid order/prescription for the DMEPOS item from the transferring supplier.

For items that the beneficiary obtains in person at a retail store, the signed delivery slip or copy of itemized sales receipt is sufficient documentation of a request for refill.

For items that are delivered to the beneficiary, documentation of a request for refill must be either a written document received from the beneficiary or a contemporaneous written record of a phone conversation/contact between the supplier and beneficiary. The refill request must occur and be documented before shipment. A retrospective attestation statement by the supplier or beneficiary is not sufficient. The refill record must include:

  • Beneficiary's name or authorized representative if different from the beneficiary
  • A description of each item that is being requested
  • Date of refill request
  • For consumable supplies i.e., those that are used up (e.g., ostomy or urological supplies, surgical dressings, etc.) – the supplier must assess the quantity of each item that the beneficiary still has remaining, to document that the amount remaining will be nearly exhausted on or about the supply anniversary date.
  • For non-consumable supplies i.e., those more durable items that are not used up but may need periodic replacement (e.g., Positive Airway Pressure and Respiratory Assist Device supplies) – the supplier must assess whether the supplies remain functional, providing replacement (a refill) only when the supply item(s) is no longer able to function. Document the functional condition of the item(s) being refilled in sufficient detail to demonstrate the cause of the dysfunction that necessitates replacement (refill).

This information must be kept on file and be available upon request.

Billing Frequencies

For refills of enteral and parenteral nutrients and supplies, immunosuppressive drugs, intravenous immune globulin, oral anti-cancer drugs, oral antiemetic drugs, and surgical dressings only a one-month quantity of supplies may be dispensed.

For all other refills that are provided on a recurring basis, suppliers may dispense no more than a three-month supply at any one time.


These requirements are not limited to DMEPOS refills for items addressed in LCDs only. All DMEPOS items that are refilled on a recurring basis are subject to these requirements.

For additional information, refer to the Standard Documentation Requirements for All Claims Submitted to DME MACs (A55426)External Website article attached to each Local Coverage Determination and the DME MAC Supplier Manual.

Publication History

January 2021 Annual Reminder as required by IOM 100-04, Ch. 20, Sec. 200


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