Industry Groups Urge Lawmakers to Stop Interim PMD Rule
WASHINGTON--Industry stakeholders gathered on Capitol Hill last week to urge lawmakers to stop the rapidly approaching implementation of CMS' new interim rule on power mobility.
During a Thursday fly-in themed "Mission Possible: Medicare Beneficiaries Need Access to Mobility," more than 50 mobility advocates from 20 states kept meetings with congressional members and their staffs to voice concerns that CMS' new policy initiatives are being rushed and to ask for a delay of the rule--scheduled to take effect Oct. 25--until at least April. The fly-in was sponsored by the American Association for Homecare, the Restore Access to Mobility Partnership, the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, the ITEM Coalition and the United Spinal Association.
The interim final rule eliminates the certificate of medical necessity for Medicare reimbursement of power wheelchairs and scooters. Instead, suppliers only need to submit a prescription with their claims, but they are required to gather patient records from physicians or other prescribing practitioners that document medical necessity (see HomeCare Monday, Aug. 29).
The groups maintain a delay would allow a smooth transition to the new procedures and coverage policy and give CMS time to fully consider recommendations made by the industry that could improve the process.
"We share the same goal of establishing a streamlined process that best serves Medicare beneficiaries," Mal Mixon, chairman and CEO of Invacare Corp., said in a statement, "but we fear that more harm than good will come from rushing regulations into place when their impact on the industry and beneficiaries have not been fully gauged."
According to RAMP, proponents for delay picked up an ally when Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley wrote to HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt and CMS Administrator Mark McClellan that the current timetable was unrealistic. The organization also noted similar requests to CMS by Pennsylvania Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum (see HomeCare Monday, Oct. 1).
"There will be a strong adverse reaction from the public if CMS continues on the path of trying to implement this new regulation without a proper transition," said John Ward, CEO of Mobility Products Unlimited. "Their lack of planning will leave senior citizens and people with disabilities stranded without mobility equipment."
"We want to keep our 'ask' to CMS very simple," AAHomecare's Web site reads." Please finalize all changes and then allow at least 90 days for the mobility community to adjust to the new codes and policies. This request is both critically important and extremely reasonable."
Industry leaders are urging providers and other stakeholders to meet with their members of Congress on the issue during the Oct. 8-17 recess.
To view the interim final rule click here.