Thursday, September 2, 2010

Urge Congress to Sign Letter to Delay End to the First-month Purchase Option

ACTION: Please ask your member of Congress to sign an important letter that requests a one-year delay of the elimination of the option to purchase a standard power wheelchair during the first month of use. Representatives Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) are co-leads of a “dear colleague” letter requesting a one-year delay to eliminate the option. The dear colleague and sign-on letter were circulated to all House offices yesterday afternoon.

It is vital that you contact your member of the House of Representatives and urge him or her to contact Representatives Langevin or Thompson’s office and agree to sign this important letter. You can reach your Representative by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Section 3136 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a provision in the health care reform law, will eliminate the first-month purchase option for standard power wheelchairs beginning January 1, 2011.

Many providers are unable to secure the capital and credit necessary to cover the up-front cost of acquiring the power wheelchair and then wait 13 months to receive full payment. Additional guidance and implementation time is needed to transition to this significant change in a manner that will not jeopardize access to care. Without access to power wheelchairs, beneficiaries will face increased hospitalizations, home health visits, and other clinical services for falls or other injuries suffered by those with compromised mobility.

The Association, along with consumer advocacy groups, is strongly urging Congress to delay implementation of the mandatory standard power wheelchair rental provision for one year. This will provide time for the homecare sector to secure financing and make the necessary business and system changes in a manner that will limit the negative impact on their businesses and Medicare beneficiaries with a medical need for a power wheelchair.

It is critical to have bipartisan support on delaying the elimination of the first-month option provision to enable power wheelchair providers’ much-needed time to secure additional financing and adjust their business models so that consumers will not see interruptions or reductions in access to equipment and services.

Supportive organizations listed at the bottom of the sign-on letter include:
• American Association for Homecare
• American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
• Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
• National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
• National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA)
• United Spinal Association

In addition, Paralyzed Veterans of America added their support of this delay today. The deadline to sign on to this letter is Friday, September 17, 2010.

To view the full letter, click here.

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