Corporate Compliance

Power wheelchair advocates call for changes to CMS coverage proposal

Compliance Monitor, March 2, 2005

Medical equipment suppliers, Medicare beneficiaries, and clinicians on February 25 urged CMS to reconsider certain provisions of its new coverage policy for power wheelchairs and other mobility aids for people with disabilities, U.S. Newswire reported.

The discussion focused primarily on the following areas:

  • Stakeholders said beneficiaries should receive power wheelchairs if the equipment increases their mobility
  • Participants asked CMS to eliminate a rule restricting use of power wheelchairs to a beneficiary's home
  • Participants asked CMS to establish a clear documentation process for suppliers, beneficiaries, and claim processors

Another hot topic of discussion was CMS's elimination of its "bed or chair confined" standard. Although participants generally were satisfied the agency for this move, many said it creates additional confusion. "We applaud CMS for proposing a new coverage standard based on a functional assessment of an individual's ability to complete their activities of daily living," said Seth Johnson of Pride Mobility Products Corporation, according to U.S. Newswire. However, "we believe that mobility for mobility's sake should be clearly recognized as a qualifying need in the coverage policy."

The activities of daily living provision was widely mentioned during the meeting as too restrictive, U.S. Newswire reported. Under the proposal, a beneficiary must be able to use a power wheelchair to improve his or her ability to perform mobility-related activities of daily living, such as toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, and bathing.

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