Reversing Medicare's "In the Home" Policy

Signatures needed for congressional petition

by Kathy Wechsler on July 1, 2005 - 2:03pm

QUEST Vol. 12, No. 4

While adjusting the coverage guidelines for mobility devices, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has neglected to modify Medicare’s “in the home” policy. Medicare will continue refusing to cover mobility devices unless they’re medically necessary for participation in an activity of daily living in the home.

Calling the current policy “discriminatory,” Emily Niederman of the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition said, “Let's say you’re able to get around your home with a manual wheelchair, but to go several blocks or to get to work get on the bus, you need a power wheelchair. You’re not going to get that power wheelchair.

“In the end, people aren’t getting the right wheelchairs to help them get into their community.”

Along with the United Spinal Association, the ITEM Coalition is working to reverse Medicare’s “in the home” restriction.

Between now and mid-June, Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) are circulating a bipartisan letter in the House of Representatives to be signed by its members and sent to the Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt asking for modification of the “in the home” restriction.

Those interested in seeing the policy changed can call their members of Congress and ask them to sign the Langevin/Bass “in the home” policy letter. For more information, visit the ITEM Coalition.

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