December 15, 2011

Stop Medicare Waste - Jean Csaposs


“Polio survivors have a vital stake in making sure that Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is equitably and appropriately financed by Medicare. It is not clear whether new directives will still work against the financing of power-operated vehicles (POV)/scooters to those for whom they are medically more appropriate. As policy stands today, reimbursement on power wheelchairs continues to be much more favorable to dealers than that of POV/scooters.

I am a non-ambulatory polio survivor. I bought an Amigo motorized scooter (POV) in 1978 and used it at work (as well as at home) and into my retirement. It is my daily lifeline. No wheelchair could enable me to transfer in/out of bed, on/off toilet and shower bench as my scooter does. The 360-degree swivel seat can be locked in any position. The power seat lift enables transfers at various heights, and can be taken apart easily. It costs much less than a power wheelchair and needs less maintenance. I deplore the fraud and deception and the wasted millions of taxpayer dollars through wholesale prescription of power chairs under Medicare when scooters would, in most cases, have been more suitable and less expensive. Every patient's specific needs and abilities must be evaluated; people with little or no walking ability may still be incorrectly placed in power wheelchairs, as has been happening for years, unless they are offered a range of scooters (POVs) that may be medically more appropriate for them.

By the same token, other patients, ambulatory or not, may need a power wheelchair with a joystick if they have poor finger and hand dexterity. The good news is the myth that scooters (POVs) are primarily recreational vehicles is finally being erased. Please help remove the unfair stigma against scooters and make them the preferred mobility vehicle under Medicare, with power chairs as an option for people with limited hand dexterity and/or weak arms. The patient MUST be made aware of options and not be forced into a power chair without knowing their options. The patient must also have a thorough demonstration including the opportunity to try out appropriate mobility vehicles in an unhurried session. Thank you.”

Jean Csaposs
Maywood, NJ
October 11, 2005

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