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American Association for Homecare: CMS Inexcusably Releases Flawed Utilization Data
Date:11/16/2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The federal government's tracking system for power wheelchairs provided to Medicare beneficiaries hasn't been adjusted to account for a new procurement policy implemented last January. Thus, the utilization numbers erroneously show a far higher number of power wheelchairs provided than were actually delivered to Medicare patients.

Major providers and manufacturers report declines of 30 percent or more in their power wheelchair sales to Medicare beneficiaries, yet the government data show significant increases.  Stakeholders, including providers, manufacturers and consumer groups, are concerned that the flawed data may mislead lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who are contemplating cuts to the Medicare program that could negatively impact the Medicare mobility benefit.

"The utilization data is supposed to provide an accurate picture of how the Medicare mobility benefit is being used," said Tyler Wilson, President of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare).   "When the data is wrong, it defeats that purpose. As Congress and the administration consider changes to the Medicare program, it is essential that their decisions are based on correct information that reflects reality."

Wilson said future changes to Medicare may determine whether some of the most vulnerable people in our society - senior citizens and people living with disabilities - can obtain mobility assistance allowing them to remain independent in their homes rather than be confined to care facilities. "The government owes Medicare beneficiaries at least the obligation to base their decisions on accurate information," Wilson said.  "It's clear that the government must update the way it calculates utilization numbers for mobility assistance."


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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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