NCART adds its two cents

Monday, April 30, 2007

WASHINGTON - NCART plans to send the SADMERC a document "relatively soon" that proposes the agency carve up manual wheelchair codes into six categories.
"The current codes are too static and broad," said Sharon Hildebrandt, NCART's executive director. "They don't describe any configurations."
The SADMERC plans to revamp coding for manual wheelchairs this spring (See HME News March 2007).
The categories, as proposed by NCART: dependent; dependent light duty; standard; made-to-order; positioning; and not otherwise classified. Within those categories, chairs are broken down further by weight and configuration.
NCART tried to incorporate "lessons learned" from its experience working with CMS last year on new coding for PMDs, Hildebrandt said.
"We tried to encompass the manual wheelchairs that are on the market today while trying not to retard any future technological advancements," she said.
NCART has had a manual wheelchair task force working on the document for more than a year, Hildebrandt said. The task force, headed up by Rita Hostak, president of NCART and vice president of government relations for Sunrise Medical, comprises providers, manufacturers and clinicians.
Tim Pedersen, CEO of WestMed Rehab in Rapid City, S.D., listened in on one of the task force's conference calls recently.
"I think they've thought about it in a thorough way and delved really deep into things like accessories, not only for manuals but also for power, because there is some cross-over," said Pedersen, who also chairs AAHomecare's rehab committee.
Additionally, NCART plans to send the SADMERC coding suggestions for head supports and pelvic and lower extremity positioning to, again, more accurately reflect what's on the market today.