Proposed Medicare Power Wheelchair Cuts will Hurt Disabled Community and Medical Equipment Providers
Salt Lake City, Utah -(October 17, 2006) Orbit Medical, one of the nation's top providers of electric wheelchair and in-home oxygen, commented on the devastating effects that Medicare's proposed cuts to the power wheelchair reimbursement schedule will have. According to a news release written by Invacare Corp., the new fee schedule calls for a reduction of 21-44% of current reimbursement rates. These new rates are scheduled to take effect on November 15.
Among those who will be most severely affected by the cuts are thousands of disabled persons and senior citizens who are not able to move around their homes to perform activities such as using the restroom and eating meals. Shawn Ross, Vice President of Marketing at Orbit Medical commented that these people "depend on power mobility devices, such as power wheelchairs, to complete their basic daily activities inside of the home."
In analyzing these cuts many individuals in the mobility equipment industry have observed that suppliers will not be able to deliver the same quality of products and services with such large reductions. In regards to this Mr. Ross said, "Our primary concern with these cuts is what it will do to our patients and customers. These cuts will make it impossible to provide the high quality products and customer service that our customers are used to receiving."
Not only will cuts hurt patients, but will also adversely affect the companies that provide power wheelchairs. It will also hurt the local economies in which these companies are based. Cara Bachenheimer, vice president of government affairs for Invacare said "most suppliers do not have the kind of margins to sustain these cuts." In order to stay in business, many of these companies may be required to lay-off workers or go out of business. This could result in thousands of lost jobs nationwide.
To contact your representative in Congress about these changes to the Medicare system, go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/ or http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm