DME vs CRT

There are two categories of equipment that have distinct requirements and criteria: Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT). DME wheelchairs are the standard wheelchairs you see in hospitals or nursing homes and are purchased in bulk to meet short term needs. DME power mobility devices include scooters and standard power wheelchairs with a captain’s seat and back. CRT products are significantly different from standard DME and include services along with products.

DME vs CRT

August 20, 2020
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There are two categories of equipment that have distinct requirements and criteria: Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT). DME wheelchairs are the standard wheelchairs you see in hospitals or nursing homes and are purchased in bulk to meet short term needs. DME power mobility devices include scooters and standard power wheelchairs with a captain’s seat and back. CRT products are significantly different from standard DME and include services along with products. Below we break down the criteria for each CRT classified power mobility device. To see the basic power wheelchair criteria check out our Power Wheelchair Guide.

For each of the categories of CRT power mobility equipment we will list out additional medicare requirement. Keep in mind to always look at the client needs first and not what they qualify for. You are the client advocate and can document why your client needs what you are requesting. It’s not always easy, but we need to do all we can to ensure our clients have access to equipment that will best meet their medical and functional needs!

CRT Group 3

Meets all of the basic power wheelchair criteria and:

Additional Medicare requirements:

  • The client has a neurological condition, myopathy, or congenital skeletal deformity

What’s different than a DME Group 2? 

  • Group 3 bases allows integration of rehab seating, and typically have better drive wheel suspension
  • Group 3 bases offer multiple alternative drive control options
  • Group 3 bases offer the option of power tilt, recline, and/or power legs, and power elevate
  • Group 3 bases have greater obstacle climbing capabilities, battery range and increased speeds
  • Group 3 bases have a tighter turning radius than Group 2 mid wheel drives
* Group 3 wheelchairs are more adaptable and versatile than Group 2 wheelchairs.

Why would my client need a Group 3 rather than a Group 2?

Neurological conditions are the main reason a patient would need a Group 3 power wheelchair:

  • Neurological conditions are often associated with abnormal tone and/or reflexes. Drive wheel suspension becomes important to minimize jarring forces that can trigger tone or make the patient unstable or result in shifting out of position
  • When using a power wheelchair all day, the distance per charge is important
  • Group 3 suspension will provide the safest navigation over uneven terrain, and minimize jarring forces
  • Group 3 base stability during obstacle negotiation is greater. For clients with impaired sensory-motor function, this may reduce the risk if they cannot sense the wheelchair is tipping
  • Availability of larger drive wheels for all day and various terrain use
  • Need for power seat function(s) that are not available on Group 2 PWCs (whether at all, or not to the extent required for adequate pressure reliefs)

 

CRT Group 4

Meets all of the basic power wheelchair criteria and:

Additional Medicare requirements:

  • The client requires the improved suspension to minimize pain and/or triggers of spasticity when driving over a variety of terrains and obstacles
  • The client requires the stable base to safely use maximum amounts of seat elevate and standing

What’s different than a Group 3? 

  • Group 4 bases are designed for stability to accommodate greater amounts of anterior tilt, seat elevation, and standing
  • Group 4 suspension is designed for multiple terrains and can decrease the transmission of bumps and vibration to the person in the wheelchair
  • Group 4 bases typically have a higher speed motor package

 

CRT Group 5

Meets all of the basic power wheelchair coverage criteria, as well as the criteria for a Group 2 base, and:

Additional Medicare requirements:

  • The client is expected to grow in height

What’s different than a Group 3 or Group 4 base?

  • Group 5 base is a pediatric power wheelchair base
  • Some Group 5 bases have a smaller functional footprint due to the smaller spaces expected to be explored by a young child
  • Group 5 may have additional power seat functions useful for a small child, such as a power seat-to-floor function that moves the child to floor level for exploration and play
  • Group 5 power wheelchairs will also have child-sized weight capacities, seat sizes and features

Copyright 2021 by Tanglewood Medical Supplies. All rights reserved.



Copyright 2021 by Tanglewood Medical Supplies. All rights reserved.