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Physician Details Problems with Medicare Approval Process for Power Wheelchairs
Date:7/10/2012

NEW YORK, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For more than 25 years, Dr. Meg Allyn Krilov has practiced rehabilitation medicine in New York City, prescribing hundreds of power wheelchairs to patients in need of mobility assistance to improve their quality of life in their home, and their communities. She practices at Montefiore Medical Center and Premier HealthCare. One of her biggest frustrations is the burdensome process of obtaining power wheelchairs for her patients who are on Medicare. 

Physicians, clinicians, providers, and advocates for people with disabilities for years have cited flaws in the process for providing power wheelchairs for Medicare patients so they can live safely and independently in their homes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to implement a prior authorization demonstration program in seven states, covering nearly half of the power wheelchairs provided annually to Medicare beneficiaries. But CMS has not committed to including a clinical template for physicians in the pre-authorization process when physicians prescribe power wheelchairs.

Yet, stakeholders ranging from providers to physicians and consumer advocates say it is critical that the prior authorization program include a clinical template. Three influential consumer groups – United Spinal Association,  National Council on Independent Living and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living – recently wrote to CMS asserting that patient care may be jeopardized if a clinical template is not used.  "As we have stated before, the program CMS has designed thus far does not constitute a demonstration. Instead it has the potential to eliminate the Medicare benefit for power mobility devices for individuals who reside in one of the seven states where this experiment will transpire. This could be rectified very easily if CMS designed, developed, and implemented a prior authorization process that
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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