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President's Proposed 2009 Medicare Budget Would Weaken Seniors' Access to Durable Medical Equipment and Therapies Required in the Home
Date:2/4/2008

ation also opposes a provision in the President's budget that would eliminate Medicare beneficiaries' option to purchase a power wheelchair in the first month and thereby establish a forced 13-month rental period. The Association believes that this change would reduce beneficiary access and increase costs to Medicare, requiring durable medical equipment companies to provide financing for a patient's wheelchair. In essence, the providers will become lending institutions for the federal government. Currently, Medicare permits a beneficiary to choose to purchase a power wheelchair when it is prescribed by a physician.

The American Association for Homecare is concerned that if the first-month purchase option is eliminated, access to wheelchairs will decrease since providers will not be able to secure the financing to cover the costs of the power wheelchair over a 13-month period. The Association urges Congress to reject the administration's proposal and maintain the first-month purchase option for power wheelchairs to ensure not only beneficiary access but also cost savings to the Medicare program.

The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) represents providers of durable medical equipment and related services and supplies as well as the manufacturers of that equipment. AAHomecare members serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require home oxygen equipment, wheelchairs and other mobility products, hospital beds, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, home infusion, and other medical equipment, products, and services, delivered in the patient's home. AAHomecare's provider members operate more than 3,000 home care locations in all 50 states. See http://www.aahomecare.org.

Contacts:

Michael Reinemer, 703-535-1881; michaelr@aahomecare.org

Walt Gorski, 703-535-1894; waltg@aa
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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