Medicare Doesn’t Want to Pay for What You Need

Posted on: October 18th, 2016 by monroewheelchair


Medicare is about to stop paying for certain components of complex medical equipment (some of which are shown above) that people with severe disabilities depend on.  As the President/CEO of a complex wheelchair provider I am baffled as to why Medicare continues to try and save money at the expense of their most fragile beneficiaries. Medicare is consistently ignoring our warnings that these cuts will drastically reduce the quality of life for people with complex medical needs. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) agree that Medicare is in the wrong and have introduced legislation that will stop the cuts scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2017. However, they’re only 2 of the hundreds of Members of Congress representing our country who need to know someone out there cares about this issue. That’s where YOU come in. Help us defend the right to access complex rehab technology wheelchairs and accessories that people need to maintain independent lifestyles. Click on the TAKE ACTION button below or visit www.protectmymobility.orgsave-wheelchair-acc-smaller

The critical components being threatened include many accessories that are medically necessary for someone with a severe disability. These accessories, that are added to a complex manual or power wheelchair, will see up to a 50% cut in Medicare reimbursement on January 1, 2017. Examples of these accessories can be seen in the diagram at top of page.

When this cut occurs it is safe to say that it will impact ALL consumers of complex manual and power wheelchairs. Here are some of the immediate consequences I see as a result of these changes:

Limited Selection Where providers used to be able to offer wheelchair accessories in a wide variety of manufacturers and styles; customers and clinicians will only be able to choose from a limited selection.
Reduced Clinical Choice- When selecting equipment for their patients, clinicians will need to consider cheaper alternatives to the most medically appropriate wheelchair accessories. This will leave consumers at higher risk for additional medical complications (i.e. pressure sores).
Elimination of In-Home Services– To offset the reductions in payment, customers will have to travel to a provider’s physical location for evaluations, modifications, service and/or repair.
Trickle Down Effect– If Medicare continues with their cuts, the negative outcomes will be amplified when Medicaid and private insurers adopt similar rates.

These are just some of the anticipated fallouts of the January 1, 2017 planned Medicare cuts.  The only way to stop this from happening is to be sure Congress passes legislation (H.R. 3229 and S. 2196) before the end of this congressional session. A site dedicated to taking action has been set up at and I urge you to use the links provided to contact your Members of Congress today. Together we can make sure that people with significant disabilities are able to get the quality equipment they depend on and deserve!

Doug Westerdahl

President/CEO of Monroe Wheelchair

President, NCART

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