Wheelchair repair issues abound for Scooter Store equipment
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has met with CMS to see if it can get some financial relief for providers who repair equipment for former customers of The Scooter Store.
“We’re working with CMS to see if we can devise some sort of system that would allow beneficiaries to access repairs and providers to get paid for them,” said Peter Rankin, manager of government affairs for AAHomecare.
Currently, providers can’t be paid for repairs on equipment still in the capped rental cycle. For patient-owned equipment, payment for repairs could be revoked during an audit if providers can’t get proper documentation for the initial medical need.
For now, repairing equipment for former customers of the Scooter Store remains complicated. For equipment that is still in the rental cycle, providers would have to pick up that patient as their own, says Martin Szmal, founder of The Mobility Consultants.
“At this point, CMS is saying if a provider is out of business and another provider wants to pick up that capped rental, they need a whole new set of documentation, and to give the patient a power wheelchair from the new provider,” he said.
That’s a lot of effort if an item has just a few months of rental income left on it, Szmal said.
If the patient already owns the equipment, providers can bill the claim as non-assigned, but they would need to get documentation to support the medical need, he said, either from The Scooter Store or through a new physician visit by the patient.
That new physician visit could benefit patients, especially complex rehab patients previously served by Alliance Seating & Mobility, The Scooter Store’s sister company, says provider Andrea Madsen.
“This way, we know they have the safest, most appropriate equipment,” said Madsen, rehab technology manager for Rochester, Minn.-based Med City Mobility. “If we do the evaluation again, we know they have the proper seating surface and the proper fit.”