Briefs

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Thursday, September 30, 2004

PMC charges CMS with denying PWC access
WASHINGTON - A coalition of power mobility suppliers in August criticized CMS for violating “a clear Congressional mandate” in imposing restrictions that have resulted in a 33% reduction in the number of beneficiaries who qualify for power mobility products. Using 2004 data from the SADMERC, the Power Mobility Coalition estimates that the Medicare power wheelchair benefit will total just $760 million in 2004, one third less than the amount provided for power chairs in 2003 and $100 million less than 2002. “We are trying to alert legislators that, through no policy of their own but through internal DMERC interpretation of ‘bed or chair confined,’ the power wheelchair benefit has been cut down to the bare bone,” said PMC Director Eric Sokol.
RATC stands with industry on NCB

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - All medical equipment - not just rehab products - should be excluded from any competitive bidding project that Medicare implements, according to AAHomecare’s Rehab and Assistive Technology Council. While some rehab professionals have advocated that CMS “carve out” or exclude rehab products from national competitive bidding, which is scheduled to begin in 2007, RATC intends to stand with the industry at large, said Chairman Matt Burke. “AAHomecare’s stance is let’s try to get rid of it all together as opposed to piece meal,” said Burke. If it looks like lawmakers are determined to go ahead with NCB, RATC could then begin to advocate for a carve out, he added. AAHomecare currently is working on a position paper that explains why NCB will hurt small business people and deny access to seniors.
Police claim disabled man stole 11 PWCs

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Police here arrested a 51-year-old disabled man in late August after linking him to the theft of 11 power wheelchairs worth an estimated $50,000. Police accused Steven Scott of stealing the chairs from Mobility Masters on Aug. 13. Police found nine of the chairs in a storage locker where Scott allegedly stashed them. Scott claimed he help start Mobility Masters and took the chairs only after owner of the company failed to pay him, according the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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