CMS: Comment Period for Power Seat Elevation & Standing Will Open by August

Following a recent meeting with Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said the public comment period for power seat elevation and standing will be posted by August.

NCART announced in its May 26 bulletin that the Senators met with Brooks-LaSure to try to move the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) industry’s Medicare coverage request forward. CRT stakeholders are asking for a reconsideration of the National Coverage Determination, a process that will include a 30-day public comment period to collect feedback.

“NCART continues to collaborate with the ITEM Coalition on preparing advocates for this next part of the process,” the NCART bulletin said. “A Web site dedicated to this issue will be available to act as a hub of resource materials, talking points, templates, and comment submissions. More details will be provided when they become available.”

The request that Medicare begin funding power seat elevation and standing systems has been in the works for some time. Blackburn, Casey, and Duckworth wrote to Brooks-LaSure last October “to request that CMS act swiftly to provide Medicare coverage of standing and seat elevation systems embedded in power wheelchairs,” according to a statement on Duckworth’s Web site. “Currently, Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities are forced to pay out of pocket for this life-changing durable medical equipment that empowers power wheelchair users to independently conduct mobility-related activities of daily living (MRADLs), or outright denied access because they can’t afford such equipment out of pocket.”

CMS received a formal request for Medicare coverage of power seat elevation and standing systems in September 2020, and CMS “deemed complete” the request in November 2020, according to an article on the VGM Web site. While the public comment process generally starts within a year of that completion date, the process has lagged, leading to multiple industry efforts to keep the process on track and moving forward.

Last October, the bipartisan letter sent to Brooks-LaSure to urge the Administrator to review Medicare coverage policies for power seat elevation and standing systems was signed by 77 Members of Congress.

About the Author

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

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