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Repair issues at ‘overflow point’

Repair issues at ‘overflow point’

Dan FedorYARMOUTH, Maine – Complex rehab stakeholders are amplifying their efforts to resolve issues around repairs, with right-to-repair bills being introduced in more and more states and one recently approved in Colorado.

These bills, which can vary from state to state, typically allow consumers to buy parts directly from manufacturers and repair their own equipment.

“It was bubbling up before the pandemic and supply chain issues, and it’s an overflow point now,” said Dan Fedor, director of reimbursement and education for U.S. Rehab and a member of a new committee at NCART focused on repair issues. “It’s a perfect storm.”

Advocacy groups typically seek to have these bills introduced because they’re having difficulty getting repairs performed in a timely manner, sometimes waiting two to three months.

Rather than letting consumers repair their own equipment, which stakeholders like Fedor argue can have “dire consequences,” there are things payers can do to speed up the process. For example, Medicare could drop the requirement that there must be continued need documented in the medical record within 12 months of a repair.

“That’s a big concern, especially for Group 3,” he said. “If they have a Group 3 condition, that’s a serious condition that requires continued use. If they come in for batteries and they don’t have continued need in the medical record, the provider has to say, ‘Go see your physician.’ That’s a delay in the process.”

Payers could also reduce the turnaround time for prior authorization requests (for those that require it) and improve reimbursement, stakeholders say.

“By the time you order the parts and potentially get a prior authorization and document the need in the medical record – it can be a burden,” said Scott Ingraham, director of complex mobility and seating at Norco. “Norco has always been about taking care of the customer – that’s just what we do – but we’re a bigger company that most people know of, so we have the ability to do that.”

Stakeholders have also had meetings with advocacy groups to discuss their concerns.

“We see why they’re upset and don’t blame them,” he said. “We want to fix it, too, but right-to-repair is not the right way.”


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