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Thread: Powerchair repair insurance hell

  1. #1

    Angry Powerchair repair insurance hell

    I thought I'd reach out to see what other's experiences are here with this. I'm so confused about Medicare and the managed health stuff in California...I'm on Healthnet with Medi-Cal, which is under Vantage. Took an entire year to get a new powerchair authorized, between the slow/awful doctor, and all the back and forth. Then the place that was chosen to give me the chair brought the wrong one, I wanted a mid-wheel Permobil, they brought a front wheel, that I've never used. I tried, but couldn't get used to it (and it went only 5 mph ugh), so they ultimately swapped it for the M300. I've had it one year, and within weeks, had issues driving it on my rough sidewalks in the city. I called to tell them a front wheel was wearing exceedingly fast, and wobbling, something was wrong. I got ignored and ignored, until it was a bigger problem. Found out a new place was authorized to do repairs, which was odd, and after more months, and the front wheel finally falling completely off when the fork broke, but warranty didn't cover it. But I finally had had the chair a year by the time all this red tape, so now insurance would fix it. Supposedly heh.

    Another long wait, where they took the chair, and when I got it back, the wheel was still loose, and bent. The tires were chewed up beyond belief, so I was shocked they didn't think to submit to replace them. So they started over, the DME, getting another doctor auth, going through insurance again...yet they didn't know what exactly was wrong with the chair, other than the wheel was off, and not touching, so it was the shocks they thought. I wait more months, and get the runaround, insurance says the DME didn't provide paperwork, and the DME blames the insurance for delays. I have NO clue... I just want a chair that works, right? So while all this is going down, the bracket with the joystick controller broke, in half. Stress crack from readjusting it. They won't fix it, and would have to go start all over again, for this! Argh!!! I can't use the chair that way!
    I've NEVER had this happen, my third powerchair, and it's not even my primary chair yet. I go back and forth with my manual, and don't have a van to transport. So I'm not even using it daily, just out and about sometimes. Never had a chair fall apart literally at the seams within this short a time. Permobils are good chairs, I think that the terrain here is just not good for the one I got. Sidewalks are jagged. Everyone along the way was aware of this, but the chair I got just doesn't seem to hack it.

    Any ideas on what to do? If I was rich, none of this would be a problem! Being at the mercy to red tape and insurance sucks hard. I don't get the finger pointing. The DME's say it's insurance and/or the doctor's fault, and when I called insurance, they would tell me that they JUST got the paperwork. I don't know who to believe! I don't recall it being this bad in the past, when I had straight Medi-Cal. And my first chair was an Invacare Xterra GT, that thing would go hiking over rocks and mountains for Pete's sake!!! It lasted 6 years...wish I could fix it up somehow and go back to that chair!
    Is this normal? Any advice? I'm worried this is just going to be an ongoing headache

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Hampstead NC
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    1,099
    Exactly what is wrong with your "old" Invacare ? Can it be fixed by someone?

    However, if you are not clever with your hands, or able to work with your hands, you need a "someone" who can do it for you. Your original problem perhaps could have been fixed before it graduated to being broken forks etc. "I" think simply tightening, or pre-loading the caster post bearings to might have gotten the wobble out of it.

    Do you live in a neighborhood? Is there a kid, boy or girl who likes to tinker with machines, cars, or other stuff? How about a high school shop class? Yes, this will cost "you" something out of your pocket, but you if need something for your mobility, won't that be worth it? There are a lot of advertised power chairs in Cal. If your ability to get around is important to you, "you" must do something to change that.

    I know many of these things you do not want to hear, but it is "you" that is sitting there, in "your" home going nowhere, not someone else. Helplessly waiting at the mercy of others, is a brutal torture. But not knowing your range of physical, financial capabilities, it is extremely hard to advise you. So my capabilities probably do not compare with yours. So anything I might say to do, is pretty useless. And "you" have to decide if "you" want to be a victim of an unscrupulous vendor or Insurance reps.

  3. #3
    It's over 12 years old, and would need a ton of work. I don't have that kind of money. And as for not wanting to hear this, that's not the point of what I've posted..... NO, it's not a matter of tightening casters on a brand new chair. I've since heard of exact same things with this particular model, right away. Yes, it should've been fixed under warranty. But when the DME puts you off, then refuses to deal with you (the one that got the chair) wtf do you do??? I'm going thru proper channels for repairs, and it's highly frustrating that it's dragging, and not effective, the chair is not properly being repaired. I use a manual chair to get around, but I also need to use the powerchair for going around town, and my dog activities (training, sports, etc..)



    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sullivan View Post
    Exactly what is wrong with your "old" Invacare ? Can it be fixed by someone?

    However, if you are not clever with your hands, or able to work with your hands, you need a "someone" who can do it for you. Your original problem perhaps could have been fixed before it graduated to being broken forks etc. "I" think simply tightening, or pre-loading the caster post bearings to might have gotten the wobble out of it.

    Do you live in a neighborhood? Is there a kid, boy or girl who likes to tinker with machines, cars, or other stuff? How about a high school shop class? Yes, this will cost "you" something out of your pocket, but you if need something for your mobility, won't that be worth it? There are a lot of advertised power chairs in Cal. If your ability to get around is important to you, "you" must do something to change that.

    I know many of these things you do not want to hear, but it is "you" that is sitting there, in "your" home going nowhere, not someone else. Helplessly waiting at the mercy of others, is a brutal torture. But not knowing your range of physical, financial capabilities, it is extremely hard to advise you. So my capabilities probably do not compare with yours. So anything I might say to do, is pretty useless. And "you" have to decide if "you" want to be a victim of an unscrupulous vendor or Insurance reps.

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    ontario canada
    Posts
    2
    Heartdog,permobil put out a service note on the front and rear casters last year,seems there was a problem with the shims they used.New upgraded shims are available under warantee,and should be replaced.They do prevent the wobble that all permobils of that year had..


  5. #5
    Keep in mind that Medicare specifically states that they only cover wheelchairs needed for mobility WITHIN YOUR HOME. They don't cover features or chairs needed for community mobility; so that should not be used in either a medical justification letter or appeal for services or features. It will get you no where.

    (KLD)

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