Medical oxygen tanks may be filled at home using an oxygen tank fill system or delivered pre-filled by an oxygen therapy supply company. Oxygen therapy is an FDA-regulated medical treatment, and it must be prescribed by a doctor. The COPD Foundation and WebMD offer advice on how to establish home delivery.
The FDA has established guidelines to regulate the production and distribution of compressed medical gases such as oxygen. Medical gas suppliers deliver large volumes of compressed gases to licensed medical facilities. In the case of Medicare and Medicaid recipients, a certificate of medical necessity is required to substantiate the medical need of an item of durable medical equipment such as a portable oxygen delivery system. In most cases, the type of equipment or delivery system is not allowed to be changed for a period of five years, according to the COPD Foundation.
Once an individual gets a prescription for supplemental oxygen, the doctor will help determine which oxygen delivery system will meet specific needs. Oxygen supply companies lease the oxygen delivery equipment, repair or replace malfunctioning equipment, and establish a delivery schedule for the pre-filled tanks. Insurance companies may have established contracts or preferred partners, so WebMD recommends that patients request a list of local oxygen therapy supply companies from their insurance providers.