Providers await major Medicare changes

Saturday, April 30, 2005

BALTIMORE -- Industry watchers expected CMS to release a final draft of its new coverage criteria for power and manual wheelchairs in late March, but as of mid April nothing had been issued. The official word from CMS is that the new criteria is in "clearance." That means officials at CMS, Office of Management and Budget and Department of Health and Human Services are still reviewing the final changes. Before the new criteria can be released, all three agencies must sign off on it. When that will be, is anyone's guess, said a CMS official. In addition to new coverage criteria, government officials also are reviewing a revised CMN for wheelchairs; a final or interim rule on Medicare's new face-to-face requirement; and a revised rule on who can prescribe scooters.