iLevel Hits 25,000 Users
With broad consumer use of the seat elevation system, and funding from an expanding spectrum of payers, Quantum Rehab works to convince Medicare that it too must fund the technology.
- By David Kopf
- Apr 25, 2019
More than 25,000 consumers now use Quantum Rehab’s iLevel seat elevation system, which lets users of complex rehab power wheelchairs travel at walking speeds while their seats are elevated up to 12 inches.
Released in 2015, iLevel lets users engage in a wider range of daily activities and promotes social engagement, while also enhancing safety during transfers or while reaching for something.
While users raise their seats with the iLevel, patented electronic and mechanical stability controls — dubbed Extra Stability Technology — ensure that their chair maintains its balance and center of gravity. This lets users drive at up to 4.5 mph and negotiate difficult terrain such as broken sidewalks, inclines and ramps while still in a raised position.
“With iLevel, our consumers have achieved greater independence to do the things they love,” said Jay Brislin, vice president of Quantum Rehab. “iLevel is being asked for by name from people who use power wheelchairs. This technology is successful not just because consumers recognize what it can do for them, but also because payors are beginning to realize power seat elevation is a necessity and not a luxury.”
Stephanie Woodward, a consumer advocate for Quantum, remarked that she uses iLevel much of the day while working as an attorney as well as at home.
“iLevel allows me to reach the stove and microwave in my kitchen so I can independently make meals,” Woodward said. “Cooking is so much easier now that I can reach things. I can’t imagine my life without iLevel.”
Solidifying the Support
In addition to the consumer support, private payer insurance and other funding sources have been considering iLevel for reimbursement, according to Seth Johnson, senior vice president of government relations for both Quantum Rehab and Pride Mobility Products.
In fact, on the iLevel funding page, Quantum runs a rolling ticker of the sources that have funded iLevel.
“The only payer that will not consider it is Medicare Part B,” Johnson says. “Medicaids, private insurers, even Medicare Advantage will consider payment for this technology.”
So with 25,000 users and a variety of entities funding the technology, why is Medicare holding off?
“Medicare has different criteria than other payers,” Johnson explained. “We are extremely frustrated with some of the determinations that have been made within the agency with regard to coverage of the technology. The real issue is that Medicare does not believe this particular item meets the definition of DME.”
Given that all so many other payers are recognizing the functional and medical benefits of iLevel, Johnson says it’s time for Medicare to follow suit. To that end, consumer organizations with support from Quantum, are working to see that happen.
“This is an area where, when Medicare is looking to modernize its benefit, that it should strongly consider changing within the current structure of Part B,” he said. “Like I said, we have examples of Medicare Advantage paying for it. Medicaids will consider it. … And it’s the same way with the private insurance companies along with the Veterans Administration. So it’s really a case where Medicare is significantly behind the times.”
Watch for an in-depth interview with Johnson on the benefits of iLevel and funding for the technology to appear on the HME Business Podcast in May. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play today!
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.