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Congress Asked to Stop Policy That Would Restrict Access to Mobility Assistance for Medicare Beneficiaries in New York
Date:12/16/2011

NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senior citizens and people living with physical disabilities in New York will have limited access to power wheelchairs if the Administration enacts a restrictive prepayment review process for beneficiaries seeking mobility assistance through the Medicare system, according to consumer advocates and home medical equipment providers in the state.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has listed New York and six other states as locations where it wants to establish a prepayment review demonstration project for all Medicare beneficiaries with prescriptions for power wheelchairs. The ill-conceived project would result in many providers waiting up to 16 months or more to be fully reimbursed by the government. Many providers would go out of business, causing significant delays in filling prescriptions and providing power wheelchairs to people in dire need of mobility assistance.

Citing the impact on some of the most vulnerable people in American society, consumer advocates and home medical equipment providers are calling on Congress to stop the demonstration project that is slated to be implemented in just a few weeks, on January 1, 2012.

"We urge Sen. Chuck Schumer to step in and help stop this project," said Angela Bray, an advocate for the disabled community and vice chair of the Human Rights Commission in Niagara Falls, NY. "Sen. Schumer has a long history of caring about vulnerable New Yorkers. It is unfair for the federal government to try and save money by making it more difficult for seniors and people living with disabilities to obtain power wheelchairs that can allow them to live independently in their homes, and delay confinement in expensive care facilities and nursing homes.  This project must be stopped so that Medicare beneficiaries in New York can improve their mobility and their quality of life."

In 2009, 6,793 New Yorkers received mobility assistanc
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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