Coalitions press CMS to formulate power wheelchair rules

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One coalition representing wheelchair manufacturers and another representing disability organizations have encouraged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to state its coverage policy for power wheelchairs as soon as possible.

CMS said a draft decision memorandum on the mobility assistance devices was expected out on June 13, and the final completion date was scheduled for Sept. 12. A multi-agency group on Dec. 15 put forth recommendations to CMS on power wheelchairs.

The nine months that it will take CMS to come up with a decision, "has the effect of perpetuating inappropriate wheelchair prescriptions and claims denials at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries," said Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid, one of the two coalitions.

The other group, the Power Mobility Coalition, is requesting interim guidance on the wheelchairs so beneficiaries have increased access to the devices.

Power wheelchairs have been the subject of controversy since 2003 when CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General initiated a 10-point plan to scrutinize claims after fraud allegations.