Rep. Langevin tries again

Monday, August 31, 2009

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., introduced a bill July 13 that would eliminate the "in-the-home" restriction for mobility devices for individuals with expected long-term needs.

At press time in August, the Medicare Independent Living Act of 2009, H.R. 3184, had 13 co-sponsors.

"The need to have access to one's physical environment through the use of an appropriate wheelchair or other mobility device, both inside and outside of the home, is critical to living independently, functioning in society and attaining a meaningful quality of life," the bill states.

Right now, CMS covers mobility devices only if they're used in the home. The bill seeks coverage for mobility devices used as part of "normal domestic, vocational and community activities." Langevin introduced a similar bill in 2007.

Langevin points out in the bill that CMS's "in-the-home" restriction is inconsistent with federal laws. In 1999, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Olmstead decision that "an individual with a disability has the right to live in the most integrated setting appropriate to meet the individual's needs."

"If Medicare coverage policy does not take into consideration the needs of individuals with mobility impairments to function outside the four walls of their homes, the right to live in the most integrated setting is denied," the bill states.

Industry stakeholders, including NRRTS, encourage providers to contact lawmakers to co-sponsor H.R. 3184.