MDA Matters January-February 2007

by Quest Staff on January 1, 2007 - 3:51pm

QUEST Vol. 14, No. 1

Featured in this article: MDA protest alters new Medicare wheelchair policy ** Shamrocks against Dystrophy ** Telethon 2006 highlights ** Award to Mattie Stepanek ** Loan closet donations

MDA protest alters new medicare wheelchair policy

In November, MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis and the steering committee of MDA's National Task Force on Public Awareness, among others, requested that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) postpone new Medicare pricing and coverage policies for power wheelchairs.

MDA leaders and people across the country who are served by MDA objected to the policy's new eligibility requirements, which made Medicare beneficiaries who can transfer from bed to wheelchair by standing and pivoting, with or without assistance, ineligible for power wheelchairs with more than basic features. At MDA's urging, CMS revised the Power Mobility Devices policy and amended the reference to the "stand and pivot" criteria, to accommodate the needs of people with progressive conditions, such as neuromuscular diseases.

The new language allows Medicare to provide more technologically complex wheelchairs when "the patient's mobility limitation is due to a neurological condition, myopathy or congenital skeletal deformity."

The new policy, which became effective Nov. 15, also includes a new fee schedule that reduces Medicare reimbursement rates for power mobility devices by up to 40 percent for some wheelchairs.

Time to spread the luck o' the Irish

MDA's Shamrocks Against Dystrophy program gets under way in February for the 24th year, bringing the "luck of the Irish" to a location near you.

MDA Shamrocks posters, banners and table tents will promote the program at thousands of participating grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses across the country through March 17. Customers are urged to buy and sign Shamrocks mobiles, which will be displayed on store walls, ceilings and windows.

In 2006, the campaign - the nation's largest St. Patrick's Day charity-related fund-raiser - brought in more than $13 million for MDA's programs.

In addition to the traditional $1 green and $5 gold Shamrocks, participating businesses also offer platinum Shamrocks for larger donations.

This year's print materials feature singer Maureen McGovern, a member of MDA's Board of Directors and chairperson of Shamrocks Against Dystrophy, along with former MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Morgan Fritz.

Radio PSAs featuring McGovern are being distributed to radio stations, and television PSAs with McGovern and MDA California Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali will also air nationwide.

For information on how your business can join Shamrocks Against Dystrophy, call your local MDA office, or e-mail MDA Director of Program Development Brian Hunter at

Relive the magic of Telethon 2006

MDA has created a 9-minute video of highlights from the record-setting 2006 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, which raised over $61 million in contributions and pledges for "Jerry's kids."

Just go to, and transport yourself back to Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas.

Late ambassador receives Caring Award

Best-selling poet, peacemaker and MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Mattie Stepanek posthumously received the Caring Institute's National Caring Award in October. Stepanek was one of seven adults and six young people honored at the ceremony in Baltimore.

The awards, inspired by the work of the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, recognize people who've demonstrated a commitment to charitable activities and serve as positive role models for others.

Stepanek, who died in 2004 at age 13, was honored for his work as MDA's National Goodwill Ambassador and his legacy as a peacemaker. Fellow 2006 award recipients included the Rev. Billy Graham and baseball great Cal Ripken Jr.

The Caring Institute, founded in 1985, operates the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans. Caring Award recipients are inducted into the Hall of Fame located near the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Help us help others

If you have any medical equipment you're not using, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the MDA Loan Closet. There's a high demand for items ranging from manual and power wheelchairs, ramps and van lifts to communication devices, shower chairs and walkers.

Many people served by MDA don't have adequate funding for the many assistive devices they need for daily living. Your donation can make a difference to them. To find out more, call your local MDA office.

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