Rehab Equipment Reimbursement

Whether you are born with or acquire a disability that requires the use of assistive devices for mobility, getting the right equipment is essential. Those of us with aging parents showing signs of mobility problems should be paying attention to proposed legislation that can have positive or negative effects on getting the right rehab equipment.

A recent survey of 45 companies representing 402 Medicare supplier locations across the US indicated that 65% have seen recent payment cuts. This has significantly reduced their ability to provide the right wheelchair and accessories to Medicare beneficiaries. In plain English – Medicare beneficiaries are frequently getting equipment that doesn’t even meet their needs, due to how payment (reimbursement) is determined. How helpful is that? Wheelchairs and other mobility devices are intended to augment physical mobility limitations and should come equipped to allow for the maximum independence possible by the user. Changes from fee schedules to competitive bidding have had an overall negative impact – to beneficiaries as well as to suppliers.

LifeScape has been setting the bar for comprehensive and individualized evaluations for mobility equipment for nearly 20 years. Our staff are highly trained and are persistent when it comes to Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance approval for complex rehabilitation technology. If our clients need accessory components to reach their maximum potential, we do the work to justify payment for it.

Ironically, we planned this message during our celebration of National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, since assistive technology is such an important aspect of rehabilitation and independent living. Notably, H.R. 3730 was introduced to the House of Representatives on September 11th, 2017, and no action has been taken. This bill amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to prohibit the application of Medicare competitive acquisition rates to complex, rehabilitative, manual wheelchairs and accessories. (A competitive bidding program has replaced the use of established fee schedule amounts to determine payments under Medicare for certain durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs.). To learn more, and to send an email to your federal representatives in Congress, go to www.protectmymobility.org.