The Scooter Store Supports an End to 'In the Home' Restriction for Medicare Mobility Assistance

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Amending The Social Security Act Would Significantly Increase Mobility For Medicare Beneficiaries

The Scooter Store announced today its full support for revisions to the Social Security Act that would eliminate language restricting power wheelchairs and scooters obtained through Medicare to use inside a beneficiary's home.

Organizations representing people living with disabilities, such as the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid Coalition (ITEM), have deplored the restriction, saying it unfairly limits Medicare coverage and prevents many people who need Mobility devices from obtaining it.

Two members of the United States House of Representatives, James Langevin (D-RI.) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) have sponsored legislation that would amend the Social Security Act and significantly increase mobility for Medicare beneficiaries. Under the revision, beneficiaries could obtain power wheelchairs and scooters that allow them to perform daily activities outside of their home, such as going to church, the bank and grocery shopping.

"It's clear that removing this restriction can vastly improve the quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries in need of mobility equipment," said Doug Harrison, CEO and founder of The Scooter Store. "Physicians want patients with mobility impairments to become as active and mobile as possible. This change in Medicare regulations is long over due, and will put the coverage criteria more in sync with today's medical practices."

The "in the home" language was originally drafted to differentiate between Durable Medical Equipment (DME) used in hospitals and nursing homes from equipment that was used outside of those facilities, such as in a beneficiary's home. Over the years, however, the government interpreted the language differently, and used it to restrict Medicare coverage to power wheelchairs and scooters that beneficiaries needed to perform daily activities exclusively in their homes.

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is likely to reintroduce legislation in the Senate, which would accomplish the same goal as the house legislation. Senator Bingaman, with former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), last year sponsored the Medicare Independent Living Act, a measure that would have removed the restriction.

"We look forward to the day when seniors and people living with disabilities can obtain mobility equipment that will increase their Mobility both inside and outside of their homes," Mr. Harrison said. "This legislation is a Declaration of Independence for seniors and people with mobility impairments. It can give them freedom and independence, and allow many people to engage actively in their communities."

About The Scooter Store
Since 1991, The Scooter Store has helped provide freedom and independence to more than 280,000 people with limited mobility. The Scooter Store offers a full line of durable medical equipment, including power wheelchairs and scooters, lift, ramps and accessories in 47 states. The Scooter Store has worked with more than 100,000 physicians, providing expertise and quality service to their patients, and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care. For additional information, visit The Scooter Store website at http://www.thescooterstore.com.

For more information, contact:
Mark B. Leita, Director of Public Affairs,
The Scooter Store
(830) 627-4717

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