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American Association for Homecare Disputes Validity of Internet Power Wheelchair Prices as Basis for Reimbursement of Services in Medicare
Date:11/12/2007

Association Sends Letters to HHS Office of Inspector General and Congressman Pete Stark

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the American Association for Homecare vigorously disputed the validity of using Internet prices for power wheelchairs as a basis for setting reimbursement rates for power wheelchairs provided to seniors and disabled beneficiaries in Medicare.

The Association outlined its concerns in letters sent today to Daniel Levinson, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), and to Congressman Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. (See text of letters at Newsroom at http://www.aahomecare.org.)

On October 30, the OIG issued a report titled, "A Comparison of Medicare Program and Consumer Internet Prices for Power Wheelchairs," which concluded that, "Medicare and its beneficiaries could have achieved savings during the first quarter of 2007 had Medicare reimbursements more closely resembled prices available to consumers over the Internet." AAHomecare strongly questions the appropriateness of the OIG comparison and its policy implications for Medicare reimbursement rates.

Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, commented, "This study and the inappropriate comparison of Medicare and Internet pricing will be used by some members of Congress to justify further cuts to power wheelchair Medicare reimbursement rates and defend the new competitive bidding program. We urge Congress to evaluate Medicare reimbursement for power wheelchairs in the correct context."

In today's letters to both Inspector General Levinson and Congressman Stark, the Association made several points:

-- The cost of acquiring power wheelchairs used by Medicare beneficiaries through the Internet does not in any way compare to the cost of p
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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