Medicare Opens Seat Elevation NCD to Review

Mobility advocates expect the agency to review the NCD on seat elevation/standing, which could finally provide long-sought-after funding for those systems. Aug. 3 virtual roundtable will set the stage for a public comment effort.

Medicare is expected to open the National Coverage Determination (NCD) concerning seat elevation and standing systems for power wheelchairs to review, and HME and mobility stakeholders and advocates are gearing up to ensure their voices are heard.

While elevation/standing technology has been around since at least 2015, Medicare has not funded these systems on the basis that it considers them “not primarily medical in nature.”

However, there are some private payer, state Medicaid programs, the VA, and other non-Medicare reimbursement sources that do fund power elevation because it helps mobility device users better engage with people, carry out daily tasks more safely and effectively, and prevents injuries related to craning their necks.

Public Comment Push

The opening of the NCD is expected to include a 30-day public comment period, giving mobility manufacturers and providers, clinicians, patients, and caregivers a chance to change that policy and finally see Medicare fund seat elevation and standing systems.

To that end, the American Association for Homecare, the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART), and the ITEM Coalition have been working to publicize the NCD and generate a strong public comment response.

“We will need you to help us spread the word and deliver a strong message to Medicare policymakers,” a statement from AAHomecare read.

Virtual Roundtable

To set the stage for that effort, the National Council on Disability will host a virtual online policy roundtable on seat elevation and standing systems on Aug. 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern. To learn more and register, click here.

“The National Council on Disability has been advising CMS on this matter for some time and has been regularly renewing their recommendation that CMS provide such Medicare coverage,” an NCART statement on the roundtable noted. “The two-hour roundtable will include perspectives from Members of Congress, people with mobility disabilities, clinicians who evaluate and prescribe mobility technology, researchers regarding the evidence base, and others regarding the legal and policy implications of coverage.”

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