Rehab stakeholders have an ear with CMS

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BALTIMORE – Rehab stakeholders last week had their second meeting in two months with CMS officials to discuss their concerns with Round 2 of competitive bidding.

In their most recent meeting, stakeholders from NCART and The Clinician Task Force discussed these concerns: that manual and power wheelchairs are combined into one product category, and that K0005 ultra lightweight manual wheelchairs and specialized adjustable wheelchair cushions are included in the category at all.

"They certainly had the right people in the room that need to be looking at this," said NCART Executive Director Don Clayback.

Twelve CMS officials were present, covering the center's policy, competitive bidding and benefit integrity areas.

The first meeting, in early September, gave stakeholders the opportunity to outline their initial concerns; this second meeting gave them the opportunity to provide more in-depth information, Clayback said.

"I think it was a positive meeting because we were able to go into a great deal of detail," he said. "Our message is the same as it was in Round 1. There's a small group of products that are not appropriate for competitive bidding, and those are the products that we're talking about."

The complex rehab products included in the standard wheelchair category for Round 2 represent only 1% of all the products in that category, Clayback said.

"It’s a small percentage, but it's an important percentage for people with more involved disabilities," he said.

After the meeting, CMS officials asked rehab stakeholders for further information, including studies on cushions. Clayback plans to follow up within two to three weeks.

"I don't think its something we'll have a quick decision on, but they certainly are tying to understand our position and are considering our requests," he said.