Alternative to eliminating first-month purchase option passes hurdle


Industry stakeholders reported last week that they’re one step closer to stopping a provision in both the Senate and House healthcare reform bills that would eliminate the first-month purchase option for standard power wheelchairs.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that a “payment reduction alternative” that industry stakeholders helped to craft is budget neutral, says said Seth Johnson, vice president of government relations for Pride Mobility Products.

“As long as it’s budget neutral and as long as there are no other objections, it’s possible that this provision could be air dropped into the healthcare reform bill, effectively replacing the provision that’s currently in there,” he said.

The alternative proposes setting reimbursement rates for standard power wheelchairs for 2011-2014 at consumer price index-urban (CPI-U) less 3.5%. That means, for example, if the CPI-U were 2% in 2011, reimbursement would be negative 1.5%.

Stakeholders encourage providers to lobby their representatives and senators to support the alternative.

Liz Beaulieu