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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

roviding these devices to Medicare beneficiaries while adhering to the appropriate standards of care. The implied cost savings of Internet pricing is extremely misleading.

-- In a previous OIG analysis of power wheelchair prices titled, "A Comparison of Prices for Power Wheelchairs in the Medicare Program" from April 2004, the OIG acknowledged that, "The estimates of potential program savings presented in the findings of the report would be lower if median prices had included any supplier administrative costs."

-- Internet pricing does not account for the specialty evaluations performed by certified medical professionals, training, repairs and other non-equipment costs that are required in furnishing power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries. Under Medicare, durable medical equipment providers must shoulder the expense of evaluating the beneficiary's specific needs, assessing the home, assembling the wheelchair, delivering the equipment to the home, conducting customized on-site fitting to accommodate the individual's seating needs, performing on-site training, processing claims for payments to insurers, and maintaining facilities to provide service and repair. Any accurate analysis of costs required to provide the expected Medicare standard of care must take into account these services and administrative costs, which are distinct from the costs of acquiring the equipment.

-- Internet prices for power wheelchairs are an inappropriate and inaccurate source of data for establishing Medicare fees for these devices. Use of such data would skew the median price downward because the data does not account for all of the required services and activities necessary to furnish power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries in a manner that ensures the beneficiary's safety and complies with standards applicable to Medicare enrolled providers.

The American Association for Homecare is working on scheduling meetings with both Congressman Stark and with I
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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