Equipment which is primarily and customarily used for a nonmedical purpose may not
be considered “medical” equipment for program payment even though the item has some remote medically related
use. For example, for a cardiac patient, an air conditioner might possibly be used
to lower room temperature to reduce fluid loss in the patient and to restore an environment
conducive to maintenance of the proper fluid balance. Nevertheless, because the primary
and customary use of an air conditioner is a nonmedical one, the air conditioner cannot be deemed to be medical equipment for which payment can be made.
Other devices and equipment used for environmental control or to enhance the environmental
setting in which the beneficiary is placed are not considered covered DME. These include
room heaters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and electric air cleaners. Equipment which
basically serves comfort or convenience functions or is primarily for the convenience
of a person caring for the patient such as elevators, stairway elevators, posture
chairs, and cushion lift chairs do not constitute medical equipment. Similarly, physical
fitness equipment, e.g., an exercycle; first-aid or precautionary-type equipment,
e.g., preset portable oxygen units; self-help devices, e.g., safety grab bars; and
training equipment, e.g., speech teaching machines and braille training texts, are
considered nonmedical in nature.