|10-19-2007, 09:28 AM||#1|
Purchase Of Power Wheelchairs At Risk
THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IS WORKING ON THE MEDICARE PACKAGE FOR THE SENATE. THERE IS MUCH AT STAKE. HOW PEOPLE BY POWER WHEELCHAIRS IS ONE OF THEM. THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IS ENDANGERING THOSE WHO NEED THEIR MOBILITY THE MOST..
PLEASE LOOK AT THIS LIST AND THIS LETTER. SEND IT TO YOUR MEMEBER OF THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE..
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP ON THIS IMPORTANT MATTER.
Important information about Medicare and the purchase of Power Wheelchairs. The Senate Finance Committee has a very important issue that may effect you, your friends, or your family. Please help me on this issue. We need as many emails or calls to these important people in the Senatewho will ultimately decide on YOUR MOBILITY!!!!!!ask your Senator to allow Medicare beneficiaries’ the choice of purchasing power wheelchairs in the first month of use in order to ensure appropriate access to medically necessary equipment and to lower costs to the Medicare program.
This policy will eliminate the choice of the patient and it will create a severe access problem for people who require the use of power wheelchairs. Medicare beneficiaries currently have the choice to rent or purchase their power wheelchair. Although if these changes are put in place providers (Venders who sell power wheelchairs and related ) will not be able to provide these types of items and services because they will not be able to secure appropriate financing to cover the up-front costs of the power chair, device or any services people with disabilities who require this equipment to be mobile.
Look below to see what Senator you have on the finance committee.
MAX BAUCUS, MT
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV
KENT CONRAD, ND (202) 224-2043
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM email@example.comToll free in NM: (800) 443-8658 TTY: (202) 224-1792
JOHN F. KERRY, MA (202) 224-2742(617) 565-8519
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR , DC (202) 224-484, AR (501) 375-2993 Toll Free 1-800-352-9364
RON WYDEN, OR
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY 202-224-6542 (501) 375-2993 Toll Free 1-800-352-9364
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI Phone: (202) 224-
MARIA CANTWELL, WAtoll free in state 1-888-648-7328, DC 202-224-3441, 202-224-8273 - TDD
KEN SALAZAR, CO DC office (202) 224-5852
CHARLES GRASSLEY, IA (202) 224-3744
ORRIN G. HATCH, UT(202) 224-5251 (801) 524-4380
TRENT LOTT, MS(202) 224-6253,
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME (202) 224-5344 • Toll Free in Maine: (800) 432-1599
JON KYL, AZ , (202) 224-4521
GORDON SMITH, OR
JIM BUNNING, KY
MIKE CRAPO, ID
PAT ROBERTS, KS
JOHN ENSIGN, NV (202) 224-6244, TDD (202) 224-7638
I am very concerned with a provision being considered for inclusion in the Senate Medicare bill (Section 608, CHAMP Act) that would eliminate my current ability to chose to have Medicare purchase or rent a power wheelchair. I have a life long disability that is not short term in nature -- I wish it was!
I am asking you preserve my current right to chose to purchase a power wheelchair in the first month in order to ensure appropriate access to quality power wheelchairs and lower out of pocket costs to me and the Medicare program. In addition, I do not believe that a 5% increase in my copay or Medicare paying 5% more for the product over the 13 month rental period is in my best interest, the Medicare program's or that of Americans with disabilities.
Eliminating this option will limit access to power wheelchairs and to the people who most need mobility. Mobility is everything to a person with a disability, it could mean being able to get to your bathroom, do your dishes, answer the door, go to a doctors appointment and most of all live an independent life. Limiting mobility will injure and harm those who are only asking to have their choice of mobility preserved. Please use your influence to oppose Section 608 or any other provision that would eliminate the Medicare beneficiary purchase option for power wheelchairs
Baucus Outlines Plan For Tackling Medicare Physician Fee Fix"I think the fee-for-service area is a good area to look at," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., on Medicare Advantage cuts.
NOTE: Discussions include a reduction on the oxygen cap to 18 months and an elimination of the first month purchase option on PMD.
Senate Finance Chairman Baucus Wednesday outlined for committee members his plan for a roughly $30 billion Medicare package that would stave off a scheduled 10-percent pay cut for physicians for two years.
The package also would include subsidies for rural and low-income seniors.
Emerging from a private meeting with the committee, Baucus said nothing concrete was decided.
"It's just the first meeting. There will be others," he said.
He acknowledged that cuts to private Medicare Advantage plans are on the table to help pay for the physician's fee fix.
"There's going to have to be some strong examination" of those plans, he said.
Other committee members said the two-year fix is not set in stone because there is not agreement on how to pay for it.
"It's one or two [years], depending on how much can be raised to offset it," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
Within Medicare Advantage, private, fee-for-service plans top the list of possible revenue raisers.
Some of those plans are paid at twice the rate of traditional Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans are paid, on average, 12 percent more than providers who are reimbursed under traditional Medicare.
Other items on the list for possible Medicare cuts include specialty hospitals, oxygen, and wheelchairs, according to lobbying and congressional sources.
"With provider kinds of issues, you have to be really careful," said Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore. "The only thing I've heard is oxygen, and well, people need that. Wheelchairs. Some people need that."
Smith also said the discussions about cutting Medicare Advantage had stalled the committee's efforts to tackle Medicare issues.
"Medicare Advantage has taken hold, and it is the basis where rural people get Medicare," he said.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she could accept some modest cuts to Medicare Advantage, but she noted that some committee members are "strongly opposed to that."
"I'm basically very tight on Medicare Advantage, because frankly, it has worked very well. Those of us from rural states are very concerned," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Earlier in the day, House Ways and Means Chairman Rangel said he had received assurances from Baucus and Finance ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, that $15 billion in subsidies for poor seniors would be included in the Senate package.
"They have to visit Medicare Advantage," he said. (CongressDailyAM, 10/18)
PICK UP YOUR PHONES AND CALL IMMEDIATELY!
Providers, beneficiares, family, and friends need to call their members of Congress TODAY to ensure that oxygen and power wheelchairs are left off of the Medicare Physician Fee ("Doc") Fix.
Sen Roberts(R-KS) Sen Crapo(R-ID) Sen Smith(R-OR)
Senators Roberts (R-KS) and Crapo (R-ID) have joined Senator Smith (R-OR) (pictured above) in letting members of the Senate Finance Committee know that they stand in opposition to additional cuts to oxygen and power mobility. As Senator Smith stated in reference to both oxygen and wheelchairs, "...people need that." – where do your Congressperson and Senators stand?
The easiest way to contact your member of Congresss in Washington D.C. is to call the US Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121
Calling does get results! If you don't make the call, who will?
Concerns/Talking points for Oxygen cuts:
• Over the past ten years, Congress has already reduced Medicare reimbursement for oxygen therapy by nearly 50 percent.
• More cuts put more seniors at risk and could lead to unnecessary hospital admissions and ER visits due to improper oxygen saturation
• Most Medicare home oxygen patients need oxygen to treat a debilitating pulmonary disease such as the incurable Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease
• A shorter cap on oxygen will force over half of Medicare's home oxygen patients to own their own equipment and thus be responsible for recalls, maintenance and service requirements, not to mention maneuvering heavy oxygen tanks.
• Patient choice will also be seriously curtailed. For example, if a patient's needs change after 13 months, they are stuck with the equipment they were forced to own at 13 months
Concerns/Talking points for PMD:
• Because many power wheelchairs are individualized for the patient, eliminating the first-month purchase option will dramatically reduce access for beneficiaries who suffer from long-term conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, spinal cord injuries or paralysis.
• Power wheelchairs are uniquely configured for the individual beneficiary and are not interchangeable with other beneficiaries. It makes no sense to rent an item that is uniquely configured for an individual.
• Information from a CMS contractor, the SADMERC, indicates that virtually 100% of Medicare beneficiaries needing power wheelchairs purchase them on day one. Beneficiaries with severe disabilities use their PWCs daily and for the rest of their lives. There is little reason to rent these devices.
• Analysis from the American Association for Homecare shows that eliminating the first-month purchase option would result in the Medicare program paying 5 percent more for power wheelchairs than they currently pay.
• There are significant up front costs associated with providing power wheelchairs. These costs include, but are not limited to, assessing the beneficiary, fittings and adjustments, providing demonstration product, education and delivery as well as equipment acquisition costs, which are significant and are borne by the supplier prior to submitting a claim to Medicare.
MEDICARE FACT SHEET
CMS Announces Medicare Premiums, Deductibles for 2008
The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $96.40 in 2008, an increase of $2.90, or 3.1 percent, from the $93.50 Part B premium for 2007. The 2008 amount is the smallest percentage increase in the Part B premium since 2001 and is $2.10 less than the increase in the premium for 2007.
The 2008 Part B premium of $96.40 is equal to the amount projected in the 2007 Medicare Trustees Report issued in April. This monthly premium paid by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part B covers physicians’ services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items. Several factors account for the 3.1 percent increase in the premium.
Growth in certain areas of Medicare’s fee-for-service program, including growth in home health services, physician-administered drugs, ambulatory surgical center services, durable medical equipment, independent lab and physician’s office lab services, as well as growth in the Medicare Advantage program and a rise in other Part B services contributed to the increase. In particular, increases attributed to the Medicare Advantage program reflect the increase in the average risk of enrolled beneficiaries as well as the impact of fee-for-service cost growth on Medicare Advantage county benchmarks.
To read more on this announcement, please go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp on the CMS website.
To read notices issued on display at the Federal Register, go to the Downloads section at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareProgramRatesStats/01_Overview.asp .
Last edited by MadonnaL37; 10-19-2007 at 09:34 AM.
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