Industry Rallies Support for Seat Elevation Proposed Decision
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Feb 21, 2023
The Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) industry is applauding last week’s proposed decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover power seat elevation on Group 3 power wheelchairs, if Medicare beneficiaries meet certain requirements.
The proposed decision, announced Feb. 15, requires the person using the wheelchair to perform “weight-bearing transfers to/from the power wheelchair while in the home, using either their upper extremities during a non-level (uneven) sitting transfer and/or their lower extremities during a sit-to-stand transfer.” Transfer equipment, such as a transfer board or walker, can be used, if necessary.
The proposed decision also requires the wheelchair rider to be assessed by a seating specialist, such as a PT or OT, who will evaluate the person’s ability to safely use seat elevation within the home.
CMS’s announcement was roundly praised by a wide range of stakeholders, from consumer advocacy organizations, to industry organizations, CRT manufacturers, and CRT providers.
“Getting to this point in the process has required consistent and collaborative efforts from the CRT community,” NCART said in a Feb. 17 bulletin. “We are thankful to each and every advocate who has taken action along the way.”
A Feb. 21 announcement from the ITEM Coalition said, “This is a major victory for all the advocates, like yourselves, who have called on Medicare to cover these critical systems for years. If finalized, Medicare beneficiaries with significant mobility impairments would finally be able to qualify for coverage for these systems.”
“United Spinal is ecstatic to be closer now than ever to Medicare covering seat elevation in certain power wheelchairs,” the organization Tweeted on Feb. 16.
“Thanks to each of you who participated in the initial comment period in August 2022,” Permobil said in a Feb. 15 e-mail to stakeholders.” Together, our comments provided a clear picture to CMS of how important this critical power seat function is to daily life participation. As a company that innovates for individuals, we are thrilled to see this positive move towards aligning Complex Rehab Technology coverage to better meet the functional needs of power wheelchair users.”
“We’re excited about the recent announcement proposing seat elevation, and we believe it’s a positive step towards a more accessible future,” Sunrise Medical said in a Feb. 17 e-mail. “While there is still work to be done, we’re proud to support this initiative and look forward to contributing to a more accessible future.”
CMS is taking public comments about the proposed decision through March 17.
“Further, CMS states that the agency is seeking comments on whether seat elevation systems in Group 2 power wheelchairs would be appropriate for coverage as well,” said the American Association for Homecare in a Feb. 17 e-mail. “This represents a significant opportunity to potentially expand coverage beyond even our initial request, and we encourage all members to support expanded coverage as well in their comments.”
Read the proposed decision and submit comments (by clicking the Submit Public Comment button) here.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at email@example.com.