Rep. Zeldin moves to protect accessories

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

WASHINGTON – Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., has introduced a bill that would prevent CMS from applying competitive bidding pricing to accessories for complex power wheelchairs, AAHomecare and NCART announced today.

Zeldin’s bill, H.R. 3229, would provide a technical correction to clarify that CMS can’t make the change.

“We are working together to put the full weight of the industry behind this simple and practical piece of legislation that will protect the people with disabilities who rely upon this equipment,” said Bill Tobia, the managing member of Home Medical Equipment in Garden City, N.Y., and a member of AAHomecare and NCART, in a press release.

CMS plans to apply competitive bidding pricing to accessories for complex power wheelchairs on Jan. 1.

Industry stakeholders have argued the change would violate previous legislation exempting complex rehab from competitive bidding and would create significant access issues for Medicare beneficiaries.

“The accessories used with complex rehab wheelchairs are what allow these wheelchairs to be individually configured for people with high level disabilities to meet their medical needs and maximize independent,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, in the release. “Without the right accessories, a person will not get the right complex rehab wheelchairs.”

Previous industry efforts to stop the change have included a “Dear Colleague” letter from more than 100 members of Congress to CMS.

Despite the letter, CMS has stood by its decision, saying the change “avoids complexity and confusion associated with including the same accessory in multiple competitive bidding programs.” It also says the cost of accessories doesn’t vary significantly based on the type of base equipment.