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Power Mobility: Independence and Joy for Medicare Patients
Date:5/6/2010

ARLINGTON, Va., May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each morning, Margaret Adkins rolls from the bedroom in her apartment to the bathroom to freshen up. Next, she stops in the kitchen to prepare breakfast and then may visit with a friend in their senior citizens complex. Her morning activities are possible because of the power wheelchair that Medicare provides.    

Flash back to four years ago.

Adkins, 70, had a knee replacement surgery that did not turn out well.  Already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, the knee operation left her virtually immobile—she had a walker but it was far too painful for her to move except when she absolutely had to. She began spending much more of her time in bed.

"My knee was really in pain," she recalls.  "Awful pain. I can't even tell you how bad the pain was after I had the new knee put in."  She was also falling down, causing bruises that required trips to the doctor. Finally in 2008, her physician prescribed a power wheelchair. Medicare paid for it. And life has been much more rewarding for Adkins.  

Like other people living with physical disabilities, Adkins enjoys renewed freedom and independence because the Medicare power mobility benefit has provided her with the wheelchair, which has vastly improved her quality of life.

But will Medicare provide the same level of service in the future?  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented policy and regulatory changes that have put a number of companies out of business or caused them to no longer offer power mobility products.  These changes include a 37 percent cut in reimbursements for power wheelchair
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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