Rehab industry responds en mass
My e-mail inbox last week was flooded with bulletins and letters from various rehab groups criticizing the OIG's latest attempt to justify reducing reimbursement for power wheelchairs (See blog and NewsWire story). Here are some of the highlights:
- U.S. Rehab's Jerry Keiderling to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa: "In one of your press releases dated Sept. 2, 2009, you verbally condemned the rehab and power mobility industry for wasteful Medicare spending. I am appalled at (your comments). I believe that had you fully examined the report, you would have found it to be incomplete and totally inconclusive from a great lack of pertinent data. This industry has been attached by CMS and mandated so deeply that a realistic four to five percent profit margin is the actual norm—not 400 percent."
- NCART's response: "The service and operating costs (non-product costs) involved with complex rehab products are significant and are very different than those for a standard power wheelchair provider. These operating costs are over and above the product cost. A 2008 industry study indicated on average complex rehab company's non-products costs were nearly equal to the acquisition costs of the products. Products costs were 50% of the claim and the service and operating costs were 45%. These service and operating costs must be recognized."
- NRRTS's Simon Margolis: "What the OIG has done, wittingly or unwittingly, is attach meaning to meaningless, incomplete and misstated numbers. They may have what they consider to be appropriate data, but seemingly no knowledge of what they are missing and definitely no wisdom to understand the significance of the information. There is at least one positive note sounded by this report. That is the clear differentiation between standard power mobility and complex rehab power mobility devices. This bodes well for the future of our efforts to further carve-out our complex rehab niche.”
- From the Power Mobility Coalition (PMC): "If readers incorrectly draw conclusions that low acquisition costs equates to high profit margins, then the PMC questions the completeness of the study and its usefulness to policymakers. To obtain a more accurate and complete measure of power wheelchair pricing, the PMC insists that the OIG conduct a thorough analysis that examines both acquisition costs and mandatory provider outlays necessary to partner with the Medicare program."