Industry protects seating

Sunday, August 31, 2008

WASHINGTON--To cover its bases, the rehab industry had legislators clarify in their bill to delay national competitive bidding that seating and accessories for power wheelchairs-not manual wheelchairs-are susceptible to a 9.5% cut.

Only power wheelchairs and related seating and accessories were included in Round 1 of the program, but the rehab industry feared CMS, left to its own devices, would also apply the cut to manual wheelchairs.

“There was no language in the bill that made a determination one way or the other, so seating and accessories were in no man’s land,” said Tom Borcherding, senior vice president, global medical sales, The Roho Group.

“Without specific language, we felt we would be at CMS’s mercy.”

The bill, which calls for a 9.5% cut nationwide for all products included in Round 1 of competitive bidding, states: “...including related accessories but only if furnished with such items and services selected for such competition…”

Due to the bill, CMS will have to create modifiers that providers can use to identify whether seating and accessories are for power or manual wheelchairs, Borcherding said.

Making the distinction between power and manual wheelchairs was important, Borcherding said, because “75% of business for seating and accessories doesn’t relate to power wheelchairs; it relates to manual wheelchairs.”

“This means there will be an ongoing payment allowable for seating and accessories for manual wheelchairs,” he said. “They will receive the 2009 CPI update. That’s a pretty significant benefit to rehab providers and manufacturers.”