PWC Purchase Option Delay Still Possible
EXETER, Pa. — Instead of introducing a bill to delay elimination of the first-month purchase option for power wheelchairs, stakeholders are now hoping the measure can hitch a ride on another legislative vehicle.
Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products, Exeter, Pa., said advocates continue to meet with lawmakers about the issue. However, he said Friday, "we have been advised not to introduce separate legislation."
Mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the first-month purchase option for Group 2 PWCs will be eliminated Jan. 1, 2011. Stakeholders have been working diligently to stave off the elimination and have agreed to "pay for" what the Congressional Budget Office scored as a cost for the delay — $50 million for 12 months — by taking a 1 percent cut in their portion of the CPI update.
A year-long delay would give mobility providers time to adjust business models, and give CMS time to put together guidance on the change. While industry negotiators had been working to get an author for a bill calling for the delay, Johnson said they have now been told they would be better off with a letter from concerned congressional members alerting key committees to the issue.
"We hear from legislators that it is a very reasonable request and it is budget-neutral," Johnson said. "There's been no opposition raised. The biggest hurdle is identifying a vehicle that will move this year to attach it to."
Such a legislative vehicle could be a Medicare clean-up bill that would take care of a number of health care provisions that need to be extended or somehow addressed, he said.
"I feel much more confident than I did a few weeks ago," Johnson said. "There are opportunities as to the purchase option. Congress is still in session, and we'll continue to reach out to our legislators and get them to formalize their support."