Consumer Groups Survey Wheelchair Users on Equipment Selection, Purchases

Info gathered will be used to lobby policy makers, CMS.

Consumer groups serving complex rehab wheelchairs users have banded together to collect information on those consumers' purchasing decisions and experiences.

Through Nov. 30, www.spinalcord.org/survey is gathering information via two surveys: a briefer "topline" survey and a longer, more detailed "full" survey. Visitors to the site are given a choice of which survey to take.

The full survey's questions include when the consumer last purchased a wheelchair, the consumer's primary diagnosis, whether an OT or PT was involved in a seating & mobility evaluation, and which advocacy and support groups the consumer has joined.

Consumer organizations sponsoring the survey include the ITEM Coalition, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Spinal Association, United Cerebral Palsy, ALS Association and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), the data collected will be analyzed, and "focused messages will be developed and brought to key decision makers and policy setters, largely through a collaborative public policy effort supported by coordinated efforts on the part of other participating consumer groups."

NSCIA says the information will also be shared with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services "in an effort to address the fact that Medicare has limited or no coverage and payment for many such items." That policy "impedes consumers' abilities to fully engage in their communities and realize their highest possible quality of life."

Said NSCIA Executive Director/CEO K. Eric Larson, "This is a very important issue for our membership. We hope that what we learn from this initiative may guide future consumer-driven efforts, educate consumers and improve policy on other key issues impacting people with mobility disabilities."

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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