Court defers decision on wheelchair rules to later date

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New Medicare payment rules for power mobility devices went into effect this week after a federal district court declined to rule immediately on a request to stop them.

The Power Mobility Coalition, an association of motorized scooter and power wheelchair manufacturers, filed the motion to block the rules. It asserted the rules would hurt Medicare beneficiaries by interrupting their access to needed medical devices. The court said it would issue a written opinion at a later date.
 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services earlier said it would delay implementation of power wheelchair codes, but would not stop the start date of the rules, which went into effect on Tuesday. Senators, including Rick Santorum (R-PA), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles B. Grassley (R-IA) also requested a delay of the rules.
 
Physicians and treating practitioners can prescribe a power mobility device, according to the new rules. Previously, authority was restricted only to specialists in physical medicine, orthopedic surgery, neurology or rheumatology.
(Published 10-28-05)