A sad day for CMS


It was my turn this Tuesday to write up some briefs for the Also Noted section of our website. (In case you don’t know already, we update this section with news almost every day—check it out while you eat your lunch!)

In the queue to write up was CMS’s recently released instructions on how to bill for accessories for complex power wheelchairs.

Accessories for complex power wheelchairs got a reprieve from the wrath of competitive bidding last year when lawmakers wisely passed a bill delaying for one year CMS’s plans to adjust pricing for this product category using pricing from the program. (The idea: The delay gives lawmakers and industry stakeholders sorely needed time to work on a more permanent fix.)

Surely, I thought, these instructions were just a technicality and would merely outline how CMS planned to carry out the new law.

Think again.

Instead, they outlined how CMS plans to fly in the face of the law and carry on with its original plan to pay for accessories for complex power wheelchairs using adjusted pricing, at least until July 1, 2016, at which point it says it can process the claims at the original rate, like they were supposed to as of Jan. 1 per the law.


No one argues, including stakeholders, that it won’t take CMS time to make the changes to its claims processing system to carry out the law. (Though, little old me wonders, how big of a change is it really, when you’re just being asked to do what you’ve always been doing before you decided to change what you were doing). But six months? Really?

While I was writing up this brief for the Also Noted section, I kept walking over to Associate Editor Tracy’s cube to ask, “Do I have this right?” I was hoping our mobility and complex rehab guru would set me straight with some insider knowledge I didn’t have.

Sadly, not.

Speaking of Tracy, she’ll have a story that includes industry reaction for our HME Newswire on Monday. Be sure to check it out.