Pride Mobility has launched a campaign mobilize its provider network in order to help preserve Medicare’s first month purchase option for power wheelchairs.
According to Pride, President Bush’s 2009 budget contains a proposal to eliminate the first month purchase option, as well as language for a provision mandating a 13-month rental period for power chairs. Nearly all power wheel chairs are purchased in the first month since
the mobility limitations of their users are typically life-long
“The first month purchase option is important to preserve access to PWC for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Seth Johnson our vice president of Government Affairs for Pride. “We’ve talked to and been a part of various coalitions in the industry, and what we have heard loud and clear from the providers that if the purchase option is eliminated for these products it will be extremely difficult for them to provide provide these prods and services… They don’t have the ability to wait 13 months to receive full payment”
Johnson said that the costs to provide power wheelchair, such as equipment purchases, providing evaluations, delivery and training, are all up-front. The providers, he explained, cannot function as a “not a bank for the government.”
To prevent that, Pride’s sales force has contacted the company’s network of providers to encourage them to contact their representatives and senators urging them to preserve the first month purchase option. Pride says this campaign resulted in more than 640 calls being placed to congress members. That is the type of effort that will be required in advance of the Senate Finance Committee’s late March/early April vote on legislation that will go before the full Senate, Johnson said.
Moreover, while the cut doesn’t make sense for providers, it doesn’t make sense for the government, either, according to Johnson, who explains that over the 13-month period, Meidcare would wind up paying 5 percent more than if a chair were purchased in the first month.
This is not the first time the Fed has tried to eliminate the first-month purchase option. The Bush administration proposed replacing it with the 13-month rental period in for the past four years, according to Johnson, and it went as far as heavy Senate debate in 2005.
In related news, On March 6 at the American Association for Homecare’s Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., there will be a breakfast reception for onetime Pride President and Pennsylvania congressional candidate Dan Meuser. Meuser, a founder and part owner of Pride, is currently on a leave of absence from the company to the run for the 10th District in Pennsylvania.
The Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraiser for Meuser will be hosted by AAHomecare’s 2008 Chairman Alan Landauer, AAHomecare’s 2008 Treasurer and Pennsylvania homecare provider Georgetta Blackburn, and AAHomecare’s President Tyler Wilson.