Senators come to rehab industry's defense

Sunday, October 2, 2005

WASHINGTON - Proponents of slowing down the dizzying speed with which CMS hopes to make changes to the rehab industry got a boost from three U.S. senators late last week.

Sen. Charles Grassley from Iowa wrote a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan asking him to respond to a handful of questions, including whether CMS will provide a crosswalk from the 49 codes for power mobility devices released in February to the 63 codes released in September.

The senator, who also sent the letter to Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, also asked how national competitive bidding and quality supplier standards will affect benefits for power wheelchairs and scooters.

Grassley asked McClellan to answer the questions by Oct. 11.

Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania also wrote letters to McClellan. They asked him to delay the implementation of the new codes until July 1 and CMS's interim final rule, which proposes switching CMNs for prescriptions and medical records, until April 1.

The new codes, although they've been changed, are still due to go into effect Jan. 1. The implementation date for the interim final rule is Oct. 25.