Industry submits comments

Saturday, December 31, 2005

BALTIMORE - The rehab industry submitted comments on CMS's new power mobility rule by Nov. 25, despite an amendment working its way through Congress that would stop the rule, at least temporarily (See story above).
Common themes in its comments: further clarity in documentation and additional physicians education.
"[CMS] needs to do a better job educating physicians," said Sharon Hildebrandt, executive director of the Washington-based National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART). "They have to look at other avenues other than a Web site, because that's just not doing it."
CMS's widely criticized interim final rule (IFR) replaces CMNs with physician prescriptions for power wheelchairs and scooters. It also requires physicians to conduct face-to-face examinations and provide suppliers with documentation within 30 days of exams.
Since the IFR was released in late August, CMS's education efforts have included a new link on its Web site that serves as a one-stop-shop for information on power mobility devices, a Medlearn Matters article and Open Door forums.
But the Restore Access to Mobility Partnership (RAMP) recommended CMS educate physicians not only through the Internet but also through newsletters (state and national professional societies) and in-person education programs.
To clarify documentation requirements, RAMP also recommends CMS provide physicians with a standard set of requirements that they're expected to address when documenting mobility needs. The requirements could be as easy as a set of questions. An example: How does this patient's mobility limitation interfere with daily activities?
Other industry concerns detailed in submitted comments:
- The IFR could result in suppliers who are increasingly denied payment and beneficiaries who are increasingly denied access--through no fault of their own.
- The lack of clarity in documentation requirements could lead to increased fraud and abuse.