Powers Managing Partner Peter Thomas and Director of Government Relations Joe Nahra spoke yesterday at a roundtable hosted by the National Council on Disability to elevate the importance of Medicare coverage for seat elevation and standing systems in power wheelchairs.
The roundtable took place in anticipation of the “opening” of the current National Coverage Determination for Mobility Assistive Equipment and included Members of Congress, people with mobility disabilities, clinicians who evaluate and prescribe mobility technology, health care researchers, and experts on the legal and policy implications of coverage.
The Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition, a Powers client, has led a multi-year effort to secure Medicare coverage for these critical systems. If the request is approved, Medicare will recognize for the first time that these systems are “primarily medical in nature,” and, therefore, covered durable medical equipment benefits – not convenience or luxury items for wheelchair users. These systems help wheelchair users carry out important daily activities more safely and independently, such as cooking, eating, and toileting. They also provide numerous health benefits, such as decreased risk of falls or injuries when moving in and out of wheelchairs, improved heart and lung functions, increased bone strength, and improved joint mobility, bladder function, and muscle strength.
If you are passionate about this issue and would like to offer your support, please visit www.rise4access.org, where you may advocate for coverage by submitting a comment directly to CMS when the comment period is opened, register to receive updates on future comment opportunities and next steps, and sign a petition to get Medicare to cover seat elevation and standing systems in power wheelchairs.
Peter has been a legislative and regulatory advocate for more than 25 years. His practice focuses on healthcare from a rehabilitation and disability perspective, Medicare coverage and reimbursement policy, Medicare audits and appeals, medical rehabilitation services, devices and research, appropriations, and vocational and community services and supports. He represents health care and post-acute care providers, orthotic and prosthetic providers, rehabilitation hospitals, physiatrists, recreational therapists, and brain injury providers and consumers with injuries, illnesses, disabilities and chronic conditions. For more information, contact Peter Thomas at 202-872-6730 or Peter.Thomas@PowersLaw.com.
Joe is a Director of Government Relations in the firm’s Legislative practice, where he focuses on federal healthcare, rehabilitation, and disability policy and advocacy. Joe manages a number of national disability and rehabilitation coalitions led by Powers and facilitates lobbying and related advocacy events, including Congressional briefings and Capitol Hill visits.