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Power Wheelchairs Essential to Reasonable Quality of Life for Many Medicare Beneficiaries
Date:4/9/2013

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Often lost in the debates over Medicare costs, policies, and regulations is what power wheelchairs mean to the people who need them says the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare).

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130409/DC90875)

Across the country, thousands of senior citizens with physical disabilities, as well as younger people who have suffered accidents or debilitating illnesses, depend on power wheelchairs from Medicare to help them ambulate around their homes.

Anyone receiving a power wheelchair through Medicare obtained it after a physician documented that the equipment is a medical necessity. The device provides critical assistance to patients so that they can perform the daily necessities of life while staying in their homes; activities like getting to the bathroom, preparing food, and answering the front door.

But even that doesn't tell the whole story. Many recipients of power wheelchairs would lose their independence and be forced into nursing homes and other care facilities without a power wheelchair. "It is stunning that during these policy debates the well-being of the Medicare beneficiary seems to be a secondary priority for policymakers," said Tyler Wilson , president of the American Association for Homecare. "Equipment providers and consumer advocates constantly have to explain how policies and regulations affect beneficiaries."   

The Medicare power mobility benefit has been accused of paying for power mobility devices, such as scooters, that are used for recreational purposes. But that is not the case. Government utilization data clearly confirms that scooters represent a mere two percent of the total Medicare expenditures for power mobility devices.     

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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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