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Stakeholders on power seat elevation: ‘We’re hoping to hear concrete steps’

Stakeholders on power seat elevation: ‘We’re hoping to hear concrete steps’

Don ClaybackWASHINGTON – Complex rehab stakeholders were scheduled to meet with CMS officials right before the holidays to check on their request to reconsider coverage for power seat elevation and power standing systems. 

The meeting was scheduled to take place on Dec. 22 with Dr. Meena Seshamani, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare, and others. 

“We’re hoping to hear from them about specific, concrete steps that the agency is taking and, hopefully, a timeline for when this is going to move forward,” said Joe Nahra, the coordinator for the ITEM Coalition. “Of course, as that continues to go on, and regardless of what we hear on the Medicare side, we’re going to continue to work with Congress, stakeholders and with some of our other allies in the administration and at other agencies to continue to apply pressure so that this moves forward in a timely fashion.” 

The ITEM Coalition submitted a request to CMS back in September 2020 to reconsider the national coverage determination for mobility assistive equipment to include coverage of seat elevation and standing systems that are embedded in power wheelchairs. 

The meeting follows a series of back-and-forth communication between Congress, CMS and stakeholders on the issue. Most recently, 77 members of the House of Representatives and three members of the Senate sent letters to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure asking her to take the next step and seek public comments on the request, and she responded with her own letter. 

“She received the letter, she understands the messaging and CMS is actively looking at this,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “We’ll see where the process goes from here. Certainly, there were no commitments, nor were any expected, but it’s encouraging that there was that formal acknowledgement, and she knows Congress is attentive to this, which is certainly a plus as we move forward.” 

With coverage for power seat elevation and power standing systems a key priority of the ITEM Coalition for many years now, Nahra hopes 2022 is the year. 

“Our No. 1 priority (next year) is working on the seat elevation and standing NCD, and we’re really hoping to see that opened early on in 2022 and make a big push to get that moving at CMS.”  


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