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

viders to furnish power wheelchairs to beneficiaries.

Tyler Wilson, the president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare, says it is "stunning" that many lawmakers and policymakers in Washington don't understand the value of power wheelchairs to people like George and Mary Cannon.          

"So often policy and regulatory decisions are made without realizing that making it more difficult for businesses to provide power wheelchairs means that some of the most vulnerable in our society go without power wheelchairs or are delayed in receiving them, resulting in increased costs," Wilson explains. "Our goal should be implementing systems that make it easier for seniors and people living with disabilities to receive the mobility assistance they need."

Moreover, Wilson says the government frequently overlooks the fact that power wheelchairs allow Medicare patients to stay in their own homes longer, which is often the most cost effective setting for care.  He said studies show that power wheelchairs reduce hospital emergency room visits from falls for Medicare patients and delay the need for Medicare beneficiaries to be placed in expensive nursing homes.

"A power chair allows individuals to move around on their own," says Ceil Stevenson, a program specialist with the Red Rock Center for INDEPENDENCE in St. George.  She works with seniors with sight problems and has helped George Cannon, who is partially blind, use a computer despite his limited vision.

"Some people with disabilities are able to use their hands and arms to propel a manual wheelchair, but this can be a big drain on energy," Stevenson says. "A power chair allows that person to move without the assistance of others, while preserving energy for other tasks.   A person would not need to wait until someone can help him get from one place to another. Being in
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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