GAO Report Lays Foundation for Congress to Ensure Access to Complex Rehab Technology for Individuals with Significant Disabilities

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A newly released GAO report, “Medicare: Utilization and Expenditures for Complex Wheelchair Accessories,” was presented to Congress on June 1, 2016, just 30 days before prices derived from CMS’ flawed bidding program for home medical equipment are set to take effect for specialized complex rehab technology (CRT) wheelchairs used by individuals with profound mobility and disability challenges.

From the findings in the report, it is estimated that the rates for CRT will be cut 10 to 34 percent when 100 percent of the competitive bid program (CBP)‐adjusted rates are implemented on July 1, 2016.

This is based off the fact that on July 1 CMS will again move forward with inappropriately applying CBP pricing information to CRT wheelchair accessories, unless Congress passes H.R. 3229 / S. 2196. Specifically:

Complex Rehab Technology wheelchair accessories are critical components for Medicare beneficiaries and other people with disabilities. Complex Rehab wheelchairs and related accessories are used by a small population of people with high level disabilities such as ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. Within the Medicare program these individuals represent a small (less than 10% of all Medicare beneficiaries who use wheelchairs) but very vulnerable group of people with significant disabilities.

“We need action from Congress before these cuts limit access and options for some of our most vulnerable patient groups,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare.  “What’s more, the negative consequences will not be limited to just the Medicare program, since most other payers follow Medicare policies.  This harmful program could potentially extend to children and adults with disabilities covered by Medicaid and other health insurance plans,” added Ryan. “Passage of H.R. 3229 and S. 2196 will ensure access to this complex rehab equipment for Medicare beneficiaries and other people with disabilities.”

As it stands, H.R. 3229 has 115 cosponsors in the House and S. 2196 currently has 18 cosponsors. For more information about this legislation or the harmful impacts of the competitive bidding program, visit www.aahomecare.org/issues/power-wheelchairs-mobility.  

The American Association for Homecare represents durable medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and others in the homecare community that serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen systems, wheelchairs, 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.

Contact: Gordon Barnes, gordonb@aahomecare.org, 202.372.0759

 

SOURCE American Association for Homecare

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