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
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."