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CMS opens NCD for seat elevation

CMS opens NCD for seat elevation

Tom RyanWASHINGTON – CMS has opened the National Coverage Determination for seat elevation systems used with power wheelchairs, but the agency is not reconsidering coverage for power standing systems at this time. 

CMS said in May it would commit to re-opening the NCD, nearly two years after the ITEM Coalition submitted a formal request to reconsider the NCD for mobility assistive equipment to include coverage for these systems.  

“Now is the time for Medicare – the largest health care payer in the country – to finally cover power seat elevation in power wheelchairs for the benefit of Medicare beneficiaries with 3 mobility disabilities,” said Peter Thomas, co-coordinator of the ITEM Coalition and a principal at the Powers Law Firm. “We also urge Medicare to proceed expeditiously with a separate NCA for power standing systems to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can access these necessary systems as well.” 

A recent forum hosted by the National Council on Disability drew more than 400 participants from the disability community. 

CMS' announcement also provided an update on the NCD status for standing systems used with power wheelchairs, noting that consideration of both seat elevation and standing systems "requires evaluation of two distinct groupings of evidence." That "benefit category and coverage of standing systems will be considered at a later date," according to an announcement from AAHomecare.
  
"While AAHomecare and mobility stakeholders are pleased to see the seat elevation NCD opened, we remain committed to the belief that both power seat elevation and standing systems deserve to be evaluated—and covered—in a timely fashion," said Tom Ryan, president and CEO. "We are disappointed that CMS has delayed the NCD for standing systems and urge CMS to expedite consideration for power standing systems as soon possible. Medicare beneficiaries with significant disabilities and their caregivers shouldn't have to continue to wait for full access to these proven, life-enhancing products.” 

The ITEM Coalition has developed Rise4Access.org to help the public advocate for coverage.  

The comment period will be open through Wednesday, Sept. 14. Comments can be made here.

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