Navigation Links
Wheelchairs and Medicare: Madonna Long Describes the Realities
Date:9/16/2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Madonna Long, who has spent decades working on behalf of people living with disabilities, and who is a consumer advocate for Pride Mobility Products Corp.:

I have been in a wheelchair since being severely injured in a school bus accident as a teenager.  For many people like me who live full lives with physical disabilities, the durable medical equipment provider who supplies mobility devices is one of the most trusted people in our lives. The equipment and service they provide keep us out of hospitals and nursing homes.

So it's frustrating to see unfair accusations leveled at these providers.  A small group of criminals who have posed as legitimate equipment providers have tainted the reputations of the many dedicated, hard-working wheelchair providers, like the ones I know. The bad guys, who are scamming the Medicare system, aren't part of the durable medical equipment community; they are criminals who deserve to be locked up.

The media often focuses on the price that Medicare pays to provide power wheelchairs to its beneficiaries, but reporters frequently overlook the fact that the cost of mobility assistance is determined by a patient's functional needs and the specific equipment and accessories required to address their unique physical conditions.  Furthermore, the people who get power wheelchairs from Medicare don't have them to cruise to the shopping mall. They can't walk. The power wheelchair brings back their mobility. Oftentimes, it is the difference between living independently and being confined to a nursing home or other care facility.    

It has been 30 years since I became a member of the wheelchair club. My life is no joyride.  My manual wheelchair is a necessity. When I get out of bed in the morning, it helps me safely begin my day.  I have to transfer from the bed to the wheelchair, and with one wrong move and I can fall to the floor, possibly injuring myself.  The next challenge is getting dressed. It's hard to accomplish when sitting in a wheelchair.  Then, I must maneuver to the bathroom to groom and to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.   None of this would be possible without a wheelchair.  All of those tasks are even more difficult for those whose physical limitations require them to use a power wheelchair.

We do not choose to join the wheelchair club. But it's our reality. We try not to whine about our circumstances because for many of us, it is just the way our life is.  

Yet, we hear accusations that providers are delivering power wheelchairs to Medicare beneficiaries who don't really need them.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Data clearly shows that typical Medicare beneficiaries who receive power wheelchair prescriptions from their doctors are 70 years or older and suffer from chronic diseases, like COPD, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.  Their physicians have written the prescriptions because the patients need power mobility assistance so they can remain independent in their homes and groom, go to the bathroom, prepare food and do the other daily necessities of life when a walker or manual chair isn't sufficient.  

Wheelchairs are life-changing devices for the people who need them. It's hard to understand why the federal government continues to add more and more barriers for Medicare beneficiaries to receive power wheelchairs. Over the years, policy changes ranging from reimbursement cuts, the so-called competitive bidding process, elimination of the first-month purchase option and other polices have made it difficult for suppliers to provide quality equipment and services. Surveys indicate that more and more home medical equipment providers are choosing not to sell power wheelchairs because of all the challenges presented by the government.

There must be more consideration of how these policies impact real people and families.  As the number of providers decline, so does access to care and equipment, especially in rural areas where small businesses serve wheelchair users who are spread over vast areas.

It's easy for bureaucrats to pronounce spending on power wheelchairs as "government waste," even as the devices help to reduce overall healthcare costs and provide Medicare beneficiaries with the ability to live independently in their homes.  The public would be better served if policymakers left their desks in Washington and met with us in our homes, where every day is a struggle.  In all the congressional hearings on Medicare spending, rarely are the beneficiaries given a voice.  What lawmakers would hear is passionate pleas for independence and dignity from some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

We may be overlooked. But we won't go away. Mobility assistance allows us to embrace the spirit that our nation was built upon – it gives us freedom and independence.

The American Association for Homecare represents durable medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and others in the homecare community who serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen equipment and therapy, wheelchairs and assistive technologies, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, and other medical equipment and services in their homes. Members operate more than 3,000 homecare locations in all 50 states.  Visit www.aahomecare.org/athome.  


'/>"/>
SOURCE American Association for Homecare
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. OIG Report on Power Wheelchairs Shows that CMS Must Do More to Educate Physicians
2. Power Wheelchairs Keep Medicare Beneficiaries Out of Nursing Homes, While Reducing Government Costs and Providing More Freedom and Independence
3. Orange County-Based Charity Teams Up With SunPower Corp. to Distribute Wheelchairs in the Philippines
4. Medicare Policy Changes Will Make it More Difficult for Nevada Beneficiaries to Obtain Power Wheelchairs
5. Mobility Matters: Power Wheelchairs Change the Lives of Medicare Beneficiaries
6. Utahs Seniors and People with Disabilities Will Feel Impact of Medicare Policy Changes that Restrict Access to Power Wheelchairs
7. Little Support for GOP Plan to Privatize Medicare: Poll
8. Ekkyo Describes the First Benefits of Controlled Hyperthermia in Humans in "Lasers in Surgery and Medicine"
9. Latest Cell Publication Describes the Novel Kinase Regulators Using OriGenes Functional Kinome Collection
10. Myths and Realities About Medicares Competitive Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment and Services
11. Despite Advances in the Accuracy of CT Colonography in Detecting Polyps, Digestive Health Experts Urge Patients to Consider Risks and Realities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Demand Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... , , The ... and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% during ... faster growth during the forecast period, a CAGR of 8.8% in the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016 Quantum Radiology,s Mobile ... expert radiologist interpretation directly to women at the workplace, ... corporations, such as Delta Air Lines and SunTrust Bank, ... as a component of wellness initiatives. "I ... SunTrust. It enables them to have a mammogram without ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2016 In the first ever attempt to ... derived from C. sativa, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, ... Federico II , the Universita` del Piemonte Orientale and ... integrated and unified inventory of phytocannabinoids of different botanical ... the remarkable chemical and structural diversity of phytocannabinoids. As ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:12/2/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... For over twenty-four years, Doctors ... basis to help personal injury victims find high quality medical care. When the company ... Angeles area. Fast forward to present day and the now ten-page directory features a ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) Portland today ... spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. The group, which is being launched with ... caregivers the opportunity to share stories and advice, seek help, and continue their education ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... of two ostomy patients, standing as living proof that attitude and determination can ... diseases and issues that spike around the holidays. This campaign will offer patients ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Wilmington, Delaware (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 ... ... has released a new version of its SaaS LIMS, CloudLIMS Lite. CloudLIMS Lite ... from sample entry through labeling, storing, shipping and disposal. The new version is ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... ... Rijuven Corp launches rejiva ( http://www.rejiva.com ), a unique wearable technology that ... technology on the market can deliver all that rejiva can. , “Rejiva promotes relaxation ... health than the usual heart rate and steps taken”, adds Evens Augustin, CEO of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):