Power Wheelchair And Medicare Guidelines
A large percentage of wheelchair owners have received their power equipment through Medicare. For the past decade the power wheelchair has given thousands of Americans the ability to regain their mobility and live their lives independently. There is a benefit called the Power Mobility Benefit.
Mobility Related Activities Of Daily Living
A beneficiary's ability to safely participate in one or more Mobility Related Activities of Daily Living (MRADLs)is considered. These activities are dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting, and eating within the home (which also can include assisted living facilities). In order to qualify a person must need assistance with one or more of these activities of daily living.
In other words, if you only need assistance to go someplace outside the home, the government will not pay for an electric wheelchair. The individual must need assistance for at least one of these activities.
What Medicare Wants To Know
Some people will be able to get around with a cane or walker for part of the day, but then get weaker or tired as the day progresses. Others may not be able to safely walk and are at risk for frequent falls.
In order to propel a manual wheelchair an individual needs good upper body strength and may not have enough or have other medical conditions limiting their abilities to propel themselves within their home.
It is time to consult a physician when these less expensive mobility devices have been ruled out. The physician can initiate an electric wheelchair evaluation and will need to write a prescription upon final approval by a qualified consultant or therapist.
Once you have gone through all the preliminary questions and determined that a power wheelchair or scooter is your best choice for mobility, you must then decide if a scooter or wheelchair is right.
Will you be able to take your chair with you when you go to the doctor or on vacation? Having a manual wheelchair for short distances when you have a companion to assist may be an added out of pocket expense.
Most doctors offices, hospitals, and public facilities have at least one manual wheelchair available for transport.
Should You Buy?
What happens when family wants their loved one to have a power chair? It is best that a therapist or physician evaluate the individual to determine if they can safely operate the wheelchair and assess their skills within their environment.
The old rule of thumb should be followed here: If in doubt, don't.
Power chairs must be justified and are expensive. Medicare doesn't always agree with your reasons. You need to be able to write so that they understand the reason a power chair would be beneficial to your clients health.