Invacare offers CPR to gasping providers

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ELYRIA, Ohio - If the industry fails to delay the elimination of the first-month purchase option for power wheelchairs, Invacare plans to give CPR to providers who need it.

"It's called CPR, and that could be consumer power rental, consumer power revival or consumer power resuscitation," said Carl Will, senior vice president, homecare. "We support the industry trying to get a delay, but if it does go through, it changes the business from a sales business to a rental business. That creates a bunch of potential obstacles, not the least of which is cash flow."

Invacare created the CPR program by pulling together a variety of its services and products. The goal: Help providers transition to the new reimbursement model as smoothly as possible.

The five-point program includes the following:

4 Financing. Invacare already offers leasing programs for oxygen and other rental items. If, as scheduled, CMS eliminates the purchase option on Jan. 1, 2011, Invacare will offer financing programs tied to the new 13-month rental period.

4 Equipment repairs. During the rental period, Medicare will not pay for service, parts and labor. By using Invacare's Roadrunner program providers can pay a flat fee per chair, starting at about $150, and outsource all of that work during the rental period.

4 Warranty. To accommodate the new rental period, Invacare will extend its warranty from 12 to 13 months.

4 Product. The reliable, economical and durable Invacare Pronto M41 wheelchair fits the new reimbursement model, Will said. "It will be interesting to see what providers choose. They'll have to have a formulary of a few chairs. That makes repairs, parts and everything else simpler and easier to do, more efficient."

4 Product parts. Invacare has parts and accessories to refurbish wheelchairs that do not reach the 13-month cap.

Even if the industry delays elimination of the first-month purchase option, "we'll provide those services individually and bundled and give (providers) an opportunity to weather a pretty tough reimbursement climate," Will said.