Jerry Lewis, lawmakers ask CMS to delay PMD cuts

Sunday, November 5, 2006

WASHINGTON - Comedian Jerry Lewis believes CMS's plan to slash reimbursement rates on Nov. 15 for power mobility devices up to 41% is no laughing matter.

In a letter last week, Lewis, the national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, asked the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to delay new pricing and coverage policies for PMDs, citing the impact they will have on people with disabilities.

In a separate letter, also sent last week to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers--22 Republicans and 22 Democrats--echoed Lewis' concerns. The lawmakers are "troubled" that people with disabilities will have a hard time obtaining necessary and appropriate power wheelchairs and scooters.

"Specifically, we understand that the fee schedule would result in reductions for the higher category of power mobility devices--group 3 devices used by individuals with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, spinal cord injury and others--in excess of 30%," the letter stated.

Lewis told Leavitt that he's willing to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with him and CMS officials to repair the problems with pricing and coverage policies. Lewis' letter was also sent to President Bush and each member of Congress.

Additionally, the industry tried to recruit Senate members to oppose CMS's pricing. In late October, providers in Iowa and Utah made strong pleas to Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, respectively, both members of the powerful Finance Committee.

These 44 representatives signed the letter to Leavitt:

Ron Lewis, R-Ky.
Jim Ramstad. R-Minn.
Ron Paul, R-Texas
Thomas Allen, D-Maine
Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.
C.A. Ruppersberger, D-Md.
Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
Jim Moran , D-Va.
Marion Berry, D-Ark.
Mike McNulty, D-N.Y.
Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa
Wally Herger, R-Calif.
Donald Payne, D-N.J.
Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn.
Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz.
John Salazar, D-Colo.
Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.
Melissa Hart, R-Pa.
Michael McCaul, R-Texas
Thad McCotter, R-Mich.
Jerry Costello, D-Ill.
Randy Kuhl, R-N.Y.
Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas
Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
Henry Cuellar, D-Texas
Vern Ehlers, R-Mich.
Dave Camp, R-Mich.
Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.
Peter King, R-N.Y.
Chip Pickering (R-MS)
David Price, D-N.C.
Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii
Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.
Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo.
Nancy Johnson, R-Conn.
Ben Cardin, D-Md.
John McHugh, R-N.Y.
Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md.
Brian Higgins, D-N.Y.
James Walsh, R-N.Y.
Dennis Moore, D-Kan.
Wm. Lacy Clay, D-Mo.