What is CMS thinking? How can making wheelchairs more expensive and harder to obtain be good for anyone?
On Jan. 1, 2016 it will become much more difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get Medicare to pay for seating and positioning equipment including wheelchair cushions, wheelchair backs, controllers and other items deemed “accessories” that wheelchair users need. This is because of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Final Rule 1614-F, which is scheduled to take effect in January 2016. It will reduce how much they will pay for complex rehab technology (CRT). Anything beyond a standard (hospital or “drugstore style”) wheelchair is considered CRT.
These cuts will make it much more difficult, and in many cases impossible, to get funding for the proper seating and positioning equipment that users of complex manual and/or complex power wheelchairs need to stay healthy. To make matters worse, private insurance companies and Medicaid programs generally follow Medicare payment guidelines.
It is vital to stop these reimbursement cuts and it is up to each of us to do so. Go to wh.gov/iQ51K to sign a White House petition to stop Medicare from making these cuts. For the petition to actually go to the White House it needed 100,000 signatures by October 23, 2015. At press time it had a ways to go, so it is still imperative that people contact their representatives and let them know how devastating the proposed action would be.