Medicare change may hamper wheelchair availability for NJ seniors and disabled

Medicare change may hamper wheelchair availability for NJ seniors and disabled.

Policy changes to Medicare from January 1st next year could affect New Jersey disabled and seniors who need to buy power wheelchairs.

New Jersey Medicare patients, consumer groups, and providers, are asking Congress to delay the new policy for one year and to make sure that power wheelchairs will still be available to Medicare beneficiaries in future.

It is feared the new policy and regulatory changes will hamper the ability of home medical equipment providers to supply quality services and products to these Medicare beneficiaries.

This law will end the patient’s option to buy a power wheelchair in the first month of use if they are on Medicare. So the change of rules will severely jeopardize access to power wheelchairs for those living with physical disabilities and seniors, because it artificially limits the number of providers who are allowed to supply the home-care medical equipment.

The bidding program for home services and medical equipment is being scheduled to take effect in nine metro areas in January 2011. Another 91 areas, including most of New Jersey, are due to start the bidding program later that year.

Having a power wheel chair help a patient get around and gives them a measure of independence. They can cook, get to the bathroom and even dress themselves.

This can prevent falls and accidents from happening. It saves on expenses on Medicare with emergency room visits and being put in a nursing home.

A mobile patient can have the power of independent living. An immobile patient needs more care.

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Authored by: Cheri Youmans

Cheri Youmans writes for us. We wish her well.