Delay allows providers to ramp up

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just weeks before Oct. 1, when it planned to implement new codes, coverage criteria and pricing for power mobility devices, CMS delayed the transition until Nov. 15.
The rehab industry had lobbied hard for the delay, arguing that providers needed more time to prepare for and adjust to the switch from four to more than 60 codes. When CMS announced the delay Sept. 20, it hadn't even released pricing. (The agency released pricing Oct. 2. See story page 1.)
Here's what three providers said they'd spend the extra 45 days doing:
ROB SUMMITT, PRESIDENT, SUMMITT GROUP
"We've been bracing for this for months. Our biggest issue is teaming up with vendors and making sure we get education for our staff. We're also trying to figure out where chairs will fall into the new codes and what we will and won't be able to bill for. Really, is 45 days going to make a difference? Not really, because we didn't hear about the delay until a week or two before (the implementation date). If we weren't ready by then, we weren't going to be ready."
CHRIS HENRY, CEO, THE MEDICAL STORE
"It gave us some breathing room. Our fiscal year ends Nov. 1, so now I can include some of the changes into our strategic planning for next year. We're predicting a 10% decrease in sales--not because our sales will go down but because the allowables will be down. We're going to have to make some changes--maybe take assignment on fewer items. We've also been able to put together a packet for doctors and referral sources that outlines what our expectations are for them. Basically, it's an explanation of the changes in quick bullet points."
TYRRELL HUNTER, PRESIDENT, MAJORS MOBILITY
"No. 1 has been staff training. No. 2 has been giving our software vendors a chance to change their software. It all has to be loaded; they have to upgrade their systems."

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