Briefs

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Saturday, May 31, 2003

Tax plan would freeze CPI on more than wheelchairs
WASHINGTON — The New York Times threw in a misleading reference to wheelchairs last month in a story describing the Senate’s tax cut proposal. The Times reported that the Senate plan would reduce reimbursement for wheelchairs to help pay for increased Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals. In reality, the Senate plan would rein in reimbursement on all DME, not just wheelchairs. As proposed, the Senate tax plan would: 1. Freeze the CPI on DME, prosthetics and orthotics for 10 years; 2. Limit reimbursement for covered drugs to 85% of AWP; reimbursement is currently 95% of AWP. The good news is that the Senate plan does not mention competitive bidding for DME. There is still a chance, however, that the House could propose a competitive bidding plan.
Tilt-in-space now routinely purchased
WASHINGTON — Rehab providers won a small battle recently when CMS approved a change in the code for the adult tilt-in-space wheelchair. Previously, the wheelchair was listed as a rental item, which resulted in reimbursement payments in increments. But now, effective July 1, under the routinely purchased code, providers can be reimbursed the total amount in one installment. Many providers felt the wheelchair had been listed in the wrong classification for some time and is more of a purchase item rather than a rental. “It is not truly a rental item,” said Simon Margolis of National Seating and Mobility. “If a product is purchased 70% of the time, then it is not a rental. The adult tilt-in-space is virtually sold 100% of the time. It won’t come back.”
Outtakes
Peak Wheelchairs has recently launched its new Web site, www.peakwheelchairs.com. The new site serves as an online catalog displaying its products and services as well as information on funding, Medicare and Medicaid coverage. Included are comprehensive links to assisting and funding associations and manufacturers. Eventually, the site will contain a clinical paper, which will display case studies throughout the industry.

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