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

only a few power wheelchairs to San Francisco Bay area Medicare beneficiaries - people living with disabilities who need mobility assistance to continue living independently in their homes.  And since January, when new Medicare regulations were implemented, her business with Medicare beneficiaries declined even further - she has provided only two power chairs to Medicare beneficiaries in 2011.

"It's really sad," said Breen, who operates Freedom Mobility Center, LLC. "The government has made it incredibly difficult to provide power wheelchairs to Medicare patients.  They are cutting Medicare costs by depriving vulnerable people of their mobility."    

The rental policy, she said, has made it unfeasible for many businesses to continue providing power wheelchairs to Medicare patients, while cutting their access to mobility assistance.   "The government just doesn't get it," Breen said, noting that a recent study found that mobility assistance saves Medicare $10.73 for every $1 invested in mobility equipment.    

"Medicare patients who are bariatric and those who require extensive medical attention or are seriously ill have trouble finding power wheelchairs," she said. "A provider's cost to purchase a bariatric power wheelchair, one with a weight capacity of over 450 pounds, is too high in comparison to the reimbursement from the government and there is too much risk involved with the rental policy."

Under the rental policy established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), if a Medicare patient is hospitalized for a lengthy period, placed in a care facility or dies, the rental payments stop and the provider must attempt to re-rent the used power wheelchair.  Breen said that it's "very unfortunate" the government has established such a flawed system – one that is bad for Medicare beneficiaries and provid
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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