NCART Members and Friends,
As we have reported, problems continue with Medicare beneficiaries having access to wheelchair repairs. This problem impacts both Competitive Bidding Areas and non-CB areas. In an effort to get needed changes made we have been meeting/communicating with CMS as part of a national Work Group which includes United Spinal Association, the ITEM Coalition, AA Homecare, and others.
According to CMS they are “not aware of any access problems” regarding Medicare beneficiaries getting wheelchair repairs. We have an in-person meeting with CMS on May 15 and in advance of that we are looking to gather data that will illustrate the problems beneficiaries are having.
To help gather that data, two new tools have been developed by the Work Group. We are asking consumer groups, clinicians, providers, and manufacturers to get Medicare beneficiaries and other wheelchair users to make use of them:
1.) A website has been established that allows a Medicare beneficiary to send an email directly to their members of Congress asking them to “Fix Access To Medicare Wheelchair Repairs”. The email can be accessed at http://action.savemymedicalsupplies.org/issue/wheechair-repair/.
2.) A “Wheelchair Repair Survey” has been developed through United Spinal and ITEM. This will help gather real data from both Medicare and other beneficiaries on accessibility to timely and professional wheelchair repairs. This survey can be accessed from the email website above or directly at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/wheelchair-repair.
Note, this does not replace the need for Medicare beneficiaries to call and share their wheelchair repair problems at 1-800-MEDICARE. They should still do that so CMS is hearing about problems through their internal reporting system.
Please share this information with anyone who has concerns/problems relating to wheelchair repairs. Particularly providers—be sure your customer service and repair staff have this information to point your customers to.
Thanks for spreading the word and encouraging Medicare beneficiaries who depend on their wheelchairs to let their voices be heard.