Nutrition Supplies – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about nutrition supplies, from Reliable Medical Supply.
Q. Will my supplies be covered by my insurance?
A. This depends on your specific supplies and the type of insurance you have. As a reference, Medicare does not cover oral nutritional supplements, Medicaid will cover some oral nutritional supplements depending on your diagnosis, and private insurance is dependent on your type of policy. Tube feeding is typically covered with certain diagnoses; however, there are often limitations on quantities that are covered. Many times a prior authorization request will be required for nutritional products.
Q. What is a prior authorization request?
A. A prior authorization request (PAR) is made with certain insurance policies. Information requested by the insurance company often involves a detailed prescription signed by your doctor for the products requested in addition to supporting notes, documentation or other medical information describing the medical need for this product. This information is then submitted to the insurance company and they evaluate if they will provide coverage. This process can take as little as two weeks or as long as one or two months, depending on your insurance.
Q. What information should my detailed prescription have on it?
A. A detailed prescription often needs to have several key items including, but not limited to:
- Length of need (if known)
- Patient’s full name and date of birth
- Appropriate ICD-10 diagnosis codes supporting prescription
- Detailed description of the product or service needed
- Physician’s signature (no stamps) and date
Q. How long can my tube feeding hang?
A. If you are using a closed system where you are spiking a bottle or bag and directly hooking up to the feeding pump, standard hang time is 48 hours when a new bottle or bag is spiked and a new feeding set is used. If you have to change the feeding set or feeding bottle/bag, hang time is reduced to 24 hours to help prevent microbial contamination. Be sure to use a clean technique of administration. A clean technique includes, but is not limited to having a clean, appropriate work area, adequate clean and/or sterilized equipment; and minimal handling and manipulation of formulas during preparation and use.
If you are using an open system where you are pouring cans of food into a bag, appropriate hang time of the open bag of food is a maximum of eight to 2 hours. It is important to use a clean technique in this method of administration as well.
Any feedings that are reconstituted with water or modified in any way should be prepared using aseptic technique and should hang for no more than four hours. This includes concentrated liquid and powder formulas, fortified human milk, and any feedings to which other ingredients are added.
Q. How should I store my oral nutrition or tube feeding products?
A. Storage guidelines are product specific, however, a general recommendation is to store product between 32 and 95 degrees F. The most desirable temperature range is between 55 degrees F and 75 degrees F. If the product is exposed for long periods of time outside of the recommended range, the product consistency could be affected. Storing product outside of these guidelines may result in a change of the consistency that may affect the appearance, flavor and other sensory attributes. Standard manufacturer recommendations are to avoid adverse temperatures.
Q. How frequently should my feeding tube be changed?
A. This question is best directed toward your physician. Some patients have problems with their feeding tube and may require it be changed more frequently. For reference, Medicare guidelines will reimburse for a new feeding tube once every three months. Medicaid, however, may reimburse up to two tubes per month for specific situations that require additional documentation for approval.
Q. I am having unpleasant side effects with my tube feeding. What can I do?
A. It is important to let your doctor know you are having difficulties. It may also be beneficial to speak with a registered dietitian who can suggest some possible alternatives to help prevent or cope with your side effects.
Q. My feeding pump shows an error or isn’t working. Who should I call?
A. If you are having a problem, please call our main number at 763-255-3800. If it is during business hours, ask to speak with a dietitian or respiratory therapist to help troubleshoot. If it is after hours, a respiratory therapist will be in contact with you shortly to assist. If we are unable to troubleshoot or determine the problem over the phone, the pump may need to be exchanged or repaired.
Q. I have changed formulas and want to return my unused product. What is your return policy?
A. Formula returns are strictly prohibited due to unmonitored storage conditions and sanitary concerns. Please click here to view more details in our return policy. We will be happy to provide information on locations that accept formula donations.