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Survey Finds Mobility Providers Struggling to Adjust to New Medicare Policies and Regulations
Date:4/11/2011

e elimination of the first month purchase option, this adds even more expense and risk to providers as we must purchase expensive equipment upfront and risk not being able to recoup the cost of our investment. As a result, we will provide less power mobility equipment to Medicare, and look to build our business with other product categories and insurers instead."

Matthew Boyd, of Hattiesburg Medical Supply, in Hattiesburg, MS, said, "We will be keeping less inventory and have changed which models we carry. We are carrying less expensive models due to the changes.  Our service to our customers will be the same; however these policies affect the quality of power chairs available. We used to offer higher end chairs, but this is impossible now."

Another provider, Donald Jones, of Southern Medical Equipment Corp., in Cullman, AL., maintained that the government policies are inconsistent with the needs of the Medicare beneficiaries, who are prescribed power mobility to help them ambulate in their homes.

"Consumer power chairs, in order to meet the Medicare requirements, are only for patients that cannot walk due to a long term disability," he said. "The beneficiaries in this category are rough on the equipment. There is no way that a dealer can afford to finance the power chair and be expected to provide repairs on this type of equipment for five years."

Jones noted that if the rental chair is returned to the provider prior to the end of the 13-month rental period, the provider will have to pay to "completely refurbish the chair" before it could even be rented to a new Medicare patient.

Wilson, of AAHomecare, said the survey comments unfortunately reflect the current state of mobility providers across the country.

"These business owners are committed to helping people living with disabilities improve their quality of life," Wilson said. "But oftentimes government policies are obstacles.  It's very unfortunate that Medi
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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