New power wheelchair rules effective next week; implementation delayed

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Friday it will delay implementation of new power mobility device (PMD) codes; new rules for power wheel chairs would be effective Oct. 25 as originally planned.

A coalition of suppliers and manufacturers of the devices has filed a lawsuit to block the rule and have said the proposed codes will create difficulties for the industry.

Government officials said the delay in implementing the new power mobility codes allows for further review of input from manufacturers, suppliers and other interested parties.

Late last month three Republican senators asked CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan to delay implementation of the new Medicare rules for power wheelchairs until April 1, 2006, to allow for more education of providers and suppliers and to ensure a smooth transition to the new coverage and payment system. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) also requested that new codes not be applied until next July.

CMS made some significant changes in the rule, which was published Aug. 26.

In its lawsuit, the coalition objects to the elimination of the requirement that a prescribing physician transcribe medical record information onto a separate form called a certificate of medical necessity. The interim final rule would "establish a highly discretionary, and much more costly system in which claimants must collect and review patients' medical records in an effort to determine whether the records will establish eligibility to [CMS's] satisfaction," the suit alleges.

The CMS announcement is available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/suppliers/dmepos/pmdannouncement_101405.pdf.  Details of the coalition's lawsuit are available at http://www.pmcoalition.org/presscenter/PMC_Injuction_FINAL.pdf.