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Thread: Replacing a wheelchair?

  1. #1

    Replacing a wheelchair?

    I have a Permobil M300 that I got from Kaiser and it's at least 11 years old. I'm now on Medicare, as well. A couple of times in the past 6 weeks it's cut out, shut down, died while I was out. I turned it on and off; it restarted; I rode a little further; it cut off again. I was eventually able to get home. Battery was fully charged with no indications of loose wires.

    NuMotion, Kaiser's vendor, was here last week, kicked and poked it, jiggled with the wires, and plugged in some test equipment. The tech scratched his head and said he didn't know what's wrong. He said that Medicare will replace a chair every five years, if need be. I am definitely sleeping in it more per day and am much weaker. I need the tilt & lift features I have on this one. In 2008, I could still get around the house with my walker. In Jan 2009 I had to start using it indoors. The tech said that Permobil might not make some of the parts for this model any more.

    Does anyone have any ideas about Medicare's rules and specific words or phrases I should use in my requests? I will ask Kaiser for a replacement, regardless.

    Thanks muchly

  2. #2
    For a power chair under Medicare, you will need to have a chair and seating evaluation done by a RESNA certified therapist who then will write the letter of medical necessity detailing all features of the chair being requested. This letter will then need to be signed (as your prescription) by your primary care provider, and submitted by the vendor to Medicare for approval. They can approve all or just some of the features. A well written letter of medical necessity (not just convenience) is critical to get features such as tilt-in-space, power elevating leg rests, recline, etc. included in your chair. You may get denied on some of these features even with a good letter, and are entitled to file an appeal. Medicare rarely approves seat elevation, so be aware of this. This process can drag on for months, so best to get started on it right away.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  3. #3

    thanks. my pcp is in my corner. I'll talk to her.

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