Proposed Physician Fee Schedule Includes Implementation of Power Chair Purchase-Option Elimination

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its 2011 proposed Medicare physician fee schedule - and it includes a number of DMEPOS provisions, including ones affecting the elimination of the first-month purchase option for certain power wheelchairs and the payment schedule for those power chairs when they're being rented out.

According to a summary sent out by the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), the proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on July 13, with public comments being taken for 60 days following publication.

For power chair suppliers, notable provisions include the revision of payment amounts for standard power chairs, which no longer qualify for the first-month purchase option.

Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), CMS now will adjust the payment schedules to pay 15 percent of the power chair's purchase for the first three months of the 13-month term. In months four through 13, the supplier will receive 6 percent of the purchase price. Those amounts are revised from 10 percent for the first three months and 7.5 percent per month thereafter.

Says CMS, "The statutory provision does not change the methodologies used to calculate and subsequently update the purchase price of power wheelchairs."

This would apply to standard power chairs after Jan. 1, 2011. Group 2 chairs with power options and Group 3 chairs will retain the first-month purchase opportunity.

Standard power chairs that are part of competitive bidding contracts before Jan. 1, 2011 - aka, power chairs that were part of the Round 1 rebid program - are also exempt from the new pricing policy, CMS noted. "Contract suppliers furnishing power wheelchairs in competitive bidding areas pursuant to contracts entered into prior to Jan. 1, 2011, as part of Round 1 of the DMEPOS CBP (competitive bidding program), will continue to be paid based under the current regulations using 10 percent of the purchase price for months one through three and 7.5 percent for each of the remaining months."

To comment on this proposed rule, go to regulations.gov and follow the instructions for submitting a comment. You can also mail written comments to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health & Human Services, Attention: CMS-1503-P, P.O. Box 8013, Baltimore, MD 21244-8013. Written comments need to be received by CMS before the end of the comment period.

About the Author

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

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