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Mobility Matters: How One Couple Depends on Power Wheelchairs for Daily Necessities of Life
Date:12/5/2012

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Several times each day, George Cannon, and his wife, Mary, navigate their power wheelchairs down the hallways at the assisted living facility in St. George, Utah where they live, as the older couple makes their way to the facility's dining room.

Like millions of other seniors and people living with disabilities, the Cannons depend on their wheelchairs for mobility that helps to ensure safety and independence in their daily lives.

"I wouldn't make it without the power wheelchair," said George, 94. "A few years ago, it got to where I couldn't walk any distance with my walker."

This particular morning, Mary, 83, who is even more physically limited than George, had to go to the doctor, but she had forgotten to charge her wheelchair's battery overnight. "I had to bring her breakfast in my chair while her wheelchair was charging," George says. "She couldn't get breakfast without her power wheelchair."

The Cannons received power wheelchairs under Medicare's power mobility benefit and are grateful that the federal health program provides this vital medical equipment. "We are thankful to Medicare for providing these power wheelchairs," says George, who retired in 1983 from California State University at Northridge, where he taught computer science.

But the power wheelchairs that allow George and Mary to live safely and relatively independently are becoming more difficult to obtain through the ever-changing Medicare program.

Government policies and regulations ranging from a badly designed Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment to excessive audits, reimbursement cuts, and subjective rules for documenting a patient's medical necessity are combining to make it very difficult for home medical equipment pro
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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