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Mobility Matters: Frustrated Mobility Providers Ask White House to Address Gross Mismanagement of Mobility Benefit
Date:2/10/2011

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2011/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the Obama administration embarks on improving the efficiency of government agencies, attention must be focused on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) supervision of the Medicare power mobility benefit. The White House would be hard pressed to find a government operation more outdated, mismanaged and wasteful of taxpayer dollars.

In fact, recent audits by the government's own contractors demonstrate the extent to which CMS has failed to provide proper administration of this important benefit.

Power wheelchairs save taxpayer funds by curtailing emergency room visits caused by fall-related injuries, while also allowing Medicare patients to age at home rather than being admitted into costly nursing homes. Yet, CMS policies and guidelines continue to make it more difficult, rather than easier, for seniors and people living with disabilities to obtain mobility assistance.

While problems associated with competitive bidding and ending the first-month purchase option for beneficiaries have dominated headlines over the last few months, other issues also plague providers, physicians and beneficiaries: the process for documenting a Medicare beneficiary's medical necessity for a power wheelchair and the claim approval process remain in total disarray.

The most frustrating part for stakeholders is that these problems are not new.  Over the last decade, CMS has failed to design a system that adequately documents the medical need for senior citizens and people living with disabilities to receive power wheelchairs. CMS has continuously tinkered with the process, but each change has resulted in more confusion and headaches for the stakeholders – providers, physicians and beneficiaries.

At question is what method should be utilized to document medical necessity. The second, and related issue, is what criteria CMS contractors should use when reviewing reimbursem
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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