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Medicare Procurement Program Creates Extreme Hardships for Patients without Options, Says AAHomecare
Date:10/24/2013

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Only a few Medicare patients have reported problems related to the bidding program for home medical equipment that rolled out in 91 new areas on July 1, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Yet, more than 2,000 patients have called an organization, People for Quality Care, desperately seeking assistance for situations jeopardizing their health and quality of life.

Take Norma Westbrook, 81, of Charleston, S.C. She needs a power wheelchair for her own mobility and for her role as the sole caretaker of her husband, who is in hospice. Norma has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, as well as spinal stenosis. "I don't walk at all," she says. "I have a high risk of falls. You just never know if the leg is going to cave in, and I have bad nerve pain. I'm never walking, not as far as three feet, so the chair acts as my legs."

Her old power wheelchair won't hold a charge, making it difficult to accomplish even simple tasks around the house. Four months ago, Norma started trying to get a replacement. She had multiple medical examinations, filled out extensive forms, and called daily to speak with a new wheelchair provider that she was forced to switch to because of the Medicare bidding program, and who is based in Georgia. Despite her best efforts, Norma still doesn't have a usable chair.

The new provider did ship out a wheelchair, but it was too small, so Norma had to return it. She questions how the provider could have sent the wrong chair if they had read either her paperwork o
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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