As of January 1, 2020, the DMEMAC requirement for a “Detailed Written Order” when ordering surgical dressings has changed to the requirement for a “Standard Written Order”.

Elements of a Standard Written Order

The required elements of a Standard Written Order are almost the same as those of the Detailed Written Order. The required elements of the Standard Written Order include:

  • Beneficiary’s name or Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)
  • Order date
  • General description of the item
    • The description can be either a general description (e.g., wheelchair or hospital bed), a HCPCS code, a HCPCS code narrative, or a brand name/model number.
    • For supplies- In addition to the description of the base item, the DMEPOS order/prescription may include all concurrently ordered supplies that are separately billed (list each separately).
  • Quantity to be dispensed, if applicable
  • Treating practitioner name or National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • Treating practitioner’s signature

A sample Standard Written Order form is included with the 2020 HCPCS Coding Guidance Updates.


It is still unnecessary to write orders to ourselves. Most of us who provide surgical dressings function as both the prescriber and the supplier. As was the case with the Detailed Written Order, if the prescribing practitioner is also the supplier, a separate Standard Written Order is not required as long as all of the required elements of the Standard Written Order are documented in the medical record.

All mentions of the “Detailed Written Order” have been removed from the CMS website and replaced with “Standard Written Order”. These occurrences include the DMEMAC Local Coverage article, “Standard Documentation Requirements for All Claims Submitted to DME MACs,” the DMEMAC LCD, “Surgical Dressings,” and the DEMEMAC Local Coverage Article, “Surgical Dressings-Policy Article.”

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to educate health care providers regarding compliance for ICD, CPT, and HCPCS coding. The information provided does not guarantee reimbursement and is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of this publication. Coding guidelines can change and we encourage you to stay up to date. The existence of a code does not guarantee payment.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Lehrman, DPM, FASPS, MAPWCA, CPC
Dr. Jeffrey D. Lehrman, DPM, FASPS, MAPWCA, CPC, CPMA

Dr. Lehrman is a podiatrist practicing in Fort Collins, CO and operates Lehrman Consulting, LLC which provides consultation services regarding coding, compliance and documentation. Dr. Lehrman is a Certified Professional Coder and Certified Professional Medical Auditor. He serves as a staff liaison at the AMA CPT® Editorial Panel meetings where CPT codes are created, edited, and deleted. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, Fellow of the American Society of Podiatric Surgeons, and is recognized as a “Master” by the American Professional Wound Care Association. Dr Lehrman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management, Past Director of the American Professional Wound Care Association Board of Directors, and is a Past Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Podiatric Surgeons. Dr. Lehrman is also on the editorial advisory board of the journal WOUNDS.