Wednesday, October 28, 2015

For your consideration

The MDA sent out an email yesterday concerning a proposed change that would cut payments for more complex wheelchair accessories. This is something that needs our, those of us living with Kennedy's Disease, attention.

As some of you might know, seats that elevate are not covered by Medicare. This has always been frustrating. With a lift seat, I can still transfer to another chair, the toilet, and the bed. Without it, I would need to have someone capable of assisting me by my side all day.With adjustable seats, seat backs, and leg rests, I can take pressure off of my hips, buttocks. legs, etc.

Please read the bulletin below and consider contacting your representative by clicking on the link below. Thank you.

Help Preserve Access to Complex Rehab Technologies By Taking Action Today

The Medicare program is planning to cut payments for complex rehab wheelchair accessories that are needed by people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and other neuromuscular diseases.   The cuts are set to take effect on January 1, 2016 and would limit access to critical accessories such as custom head support and seating systems, mounting hardware, adjustable leg rests, and specialty drive controls among other wheelchair accessories that people living with these diseases rely on each day of their lives.  Therefore, we need your help today!

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and ALS Association have joined together to support legislation introduced in the House (H.R. 3229) and Senate (S. 2196) that would stop these cuts and ensure that people with muscular dystrophy, ALS and other neuromuscular diseases continue to have access to the full range of complex rehab accessories that meet their medical needs.

Please contact your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor this critical legislation. Because the bills must be passed and enacted by December, 31, 2015 in order to prevent these cuts, it is critical that you contact Congress today!  A letter you can customize and email directly to your elected officials is available by clicking here

In 2008, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and the ALS Association supported legislation that specifically excluded complex power wheelchairs and related accessories from Medicare’s competitive bidding program.  Congress took this action because they understood that the competitive bidding program did not recognize the complexities of neuromuscular diseases like ALS and muscular dystrophy, the difficulties imposed by the diseases, or the sophisticated equipment and services that are required to help improve the lives of people living with these diseases.  Since that time, complex rehab accessories have not been included in the competitive bidding program.   However, Medicare is now planning to change that, despite existing law that specifically excludes these technologies and despite the fact that such a change could reduce or even eliminate the availability of these vital technologies.

H.R. 3229 and S. 2196 would make technical corrections to the law to clarify that complex rehab wheelchair accessories should continue to be covered using Medicare’s established fee schedule amounts and not be paid for using competitive bidding prices, which do not capture the full cost of these customized accessories.  The bills follow the intent of Congress with passage of section 154 of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) in 2008 and would help to ensure that complex rehab technologies remain available to people with ALS and muscular dystrophy, and other neuromuscular diseases.

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