Clinicians take CMS to task

Friday, June 30, 2006

ATLANTA - A group of seating and mobility specialists aims to prove that there's still confusion among physicians surrounding CMS's new documentation requirements for power mobility devices.
The Clinician Task Force has recruited physicians to fill out a four-page survey that it hopes will reveal not only their lack of knowledge but also the "burden" of the new requirements.
"I did a review yesterday, where I received 45 pages of documents, none of which spoke to the patient's equipment needs," said Laura Cohen, co-coordinator of the task force, which is part of the Coalition to Modernize Medical Coverage of Mobility Devices. "(The new requirements) have been in effect for more than a year, but confusion persists. Misinformation persists."
For power wheelchairs and scooters, CMS now requires that physicians not only conduct face-to-face exams but also complete a seven-step process to fill out prescriptions and a nine-step algorithm to determine medical necessity. The new rule replaces CMNs with prescriptions and medical records.
The results of the survey should provide the task force with the "conclusive evidence" it needs to prove that "what CMS is asking for goes above and beyond general records," Cohen said.
The task force has collected about 40 surveys so far, mostly from physiatrists, who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Because physiatrists are more familiar with the new documentation requirements, the task force also hopes to collect surveys from family doctors, who are just as likely to prescribe power mobility devices.
The task force plans to share its findings with CMS so it can better educate and train physicians, Cohen said. Her challenge to the industry: Have every rehab provider ask one referral source to complete the survey.
To access the survey, go to

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