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Linda Collins Blogger

What if a Patient Returns an Item?

Posted by Linda Collins | August 23, 2016

According to DMEPOS Supplier Standard 15, "A supplier must accept returns of substandard (less than full quality for the particular item) or unsuitable items (inappropriate for the beneficiary at the time it was fitted and rented or sold) from beneficiaries."

What does this mean for you?

If you provide an item to a patient and it does not fit properly or function appropriately, you are required to accept the return of the item or provide the necessary repairs or replacements. But what about the patient choosing to return the item for reasons that have nothing to do with quality?

Your returns policy must be available to patients at the time of delivery. If you have provided a prescribed item to a patient, received signatures on the Proof of Delivery, and have submitted a claim for the product, you are under no obligation to accept the return, if the patient has not followed the guidelines in your returns policy.  When the patient returns the item you are advised to document your conversation and remind the patient of the same and similar rule for Medicare DMEPOS items. You may still submit a claim and collect reimbursement for the item.

It is a good idea to incorporate clear and specific return policy language into your Proof of Delivery document. A return policy may state products that are unopened may be exchanged in their original packaging for a replacement within 15 days of receipt. If a product has been worn it cannot be returned or exchanged, unless there is a defect.

If the item is custom, you may still submit a claim for the item (A Custom Item is Ordered but Not Delivered.) However, if there are components of the device that may be salvaged and used in future customize products, you must make reasonable efforts to recover these items. 

If the beneficiary disputes the return, the MAC will initiate an investigation. The beneficiary and the supplier will each have an opportunity to tell their side of the story. The MAC will make the final determination of payment or recoupment.

Be sure to have a clear Returns policy in place and make sure you thoroughly document all conversations with the patient. ​​

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