Manual wheelchairs are one of the many products that require a lot of work and documentation to receive payment from Medicare.
by Sarah Hanna

Manual wheelchairs are one of the many products that require a
lot of work and documentation to receive payment from Medicare.
Once the documentation has been reviewed and the claim has been
sent, it is deflating to receive a denial. But with an overall 20.3
percent denial rate, providers get a lot of them for K0007

One of the top denial reason codes for the K0007 is the CO176,
which states "the prescription is not current." Why do you get this
denial, and how do you work it and get the extra heavy duty
wheelchair paid?

When the initial date of service for a piece of capped rental
equipment is billed to Medicare, a "dummy" CMN is created in the
Common Working File (CWF) with a length of need of 13 months. This
is done even though manual wheelchairs do not require a CMN.
Medicare utilizes the dummy CMN to track how many months it should
pay for that item.

There are instances when a patient has a break in service (was
admitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility) or has a break
in medical need (no longer needs that piece of equipment for a
medical reason). If the patient requires that equipment again, it
will most likely result in billing for rental months that have now
fallen outside of that first 13-month allowance set up in the dummy
CMN. This results in a CO176 denial. The CO176 is traditionally a
CMN denial, but because the CWF shows that the dummy CMN has
expired, a claim for a piece of equipment that does not require an
actual CMN may receive the same denial.

In the case of a break in service when the patient was admitted
to a facility but still needed the equipment for the same medical
reason, your only option on a CO176 denial is to request that
Medicare extend the capped rental period to include the remaining
rentals up to 13 total months. This can be done through a written
reopening request specifically asking that the capped rental period
be extended.

If there was a break in medical need, you may have the option to
restart the capped rental period. This would mean a full 13 months
of payment regardless of the rental months paid during the previous
rental period. To do this, you have to show that the medical reason
the patient needs the equipment now is different than the medical
reason he or she needed it during the first rental period. This
information should be submitted in written form to the reopening
department requesting that the capped rental period be

You might also receive this denial if the patient rented the
wheelchair from a previous supplier and, for one reason or another,
switched to your company. In this circumstance, you will not be
able to go to the reopening department and request an extension.
You will only be paid for the months that were left in the cap
after the patient left the previous supplier.

Based on analysis of 8,945,016 claims processed for
RemitDATA customers during the fourth quarter of 2009. Source:
RemitDATA, 866/885-2974,

Read more Working Down Denials

Sarah Hanna is a reimbursement consultant and vice president
of ECS Billing
& Consulting
, Tiffin, Ohio, and specializes in proper
billing protocols, Medicare coverage guidelines and billing office
procedures. You can reach her at 419/448-5332 or