Q&A: Are DME companies (providers / manufacturers) considered "essential business" during COVID-19?
on March 20, 2020
A: (note: VGM is seeking further clarification from expert sources)
The short answer it typically yes, they are considered essential and allowed to remain open and continue working. Many of them are carrying their ID badges for work (not sure whether you have those or not), or are carrying emergency travel exemption letters to show to authorities if/when they are questioned as to why they are out and about. Unfortunately, none of the guidance that has been issued has come out and named DME providers and manufacturers specifically as “essential,” but we have seen examples of where DME was approved as essential at a local level, and have not seen examples of them being told they can’t continue operations.
All that said, we suggest that you reach out to your local Public Health officials to get clarity from them at your local level. Certain cities/municipalities may be treating things a little differently than others. They may even go as far as to say that providers who supply oxygen and ventilators and other life-sustaining equipment can continue operations, but those that do not must close.
*Update: See updated answer here.