A tracheostomy is surgical procedure in which an opening is created through the neck. Typically, a tube is placed through the opening to allow air to flow through the windpipe and to remove lung secretions. People who need tracheostomies tend to suffer from:

  • A blockage in the airway
  • Genetic larynx or trachea abnormalities
  • A swelled airway due to breathing in toxins
  • Neck cancer
  • Larynx surgery
  • Paralyzed swallowing muscles
  • Severe injuries to the neck or mouth
  • Any inability to breathe independently

What is a tracheostomy care kit?
After a health care professional conducts a tracheostomy on a patient, the wound and tube must be cleaned and maintained regularly until it is removed. That's where the tracheostomy care kit comes in handy. This package comes with all of the tools and supplies needed to clean and care for the opening and tube after the surgical procedure. It typically includes:

  • Gauze
  • Surgical drape
  • Tracheostomy dressing
  • Tracheostomy brush
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Tape twill
  • Plastic tray

All components are contained within the plastic tray and are packaged sterilely. While most kits come with these components, health care professionals can also order custom tracheostomy care kits that have specific supplies.

Does Medicare cover my tracheostomy care kit?
A tracheostomy care kit is a piece of durable medical equipment that is considered to be medically necessary for care of a tracheostomy patient after the procedure. Most Medicare plans cover the cost of one kit per day. You are responsible for paying for 20 percent of the price, while Medicare covers 80 percent. You may also have to meet your monthly premium.

How do I qualify for coverage?
To be eligible for coverage of your durable medical equipment, you must have undergone a surgical tracheostomy. A health care professional must determine that you require the placement of a tracheostomy tube to breathe and that it is expected to be in place for at least three months. Your health care provider should keep signed and dated physician's orders for all tracheostomy supplies in case Medicare requests proof.

Where do I get a tracheostomy care kit?
In general, patients who require tracheostomy care kits receive them through the hospital in which they are staying following their surgeries. A medical professional will clean the wound and tube using the supplies in the kit then discard them afterward. These products are typically obtained through a durable medical equipment supplier that is an approved contractor with the national health care program.