Wheelchair-user Safety and Mobility Threatened sign now

On the 5th anniversary of the Tragedy of 9/11, we learned that another Tragedy (albeit, granted, not even remotely of that magnitude) is looming for American's Disabled - One for Wheelchair users and ALL those likewise confined to similar mobility devices - We are also under attack, viz:

"WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2006. Clinicians and advocates for people with disabilities today sharply criticized new Medicare procedures that will force beneficiaries living with mobility impairments, many of whom are senior citizens, to receive power wheelchairs and scooters unable to meet their medical needs.

Advocates called on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the scheduled Oct. 1 implementation, charging that individuals with mobility impairments, including senior citizens and people living with disabilities, will become "prisoners in their homes" because of the new policy that operationalizes the coverage, coding and pricing changes that CMS has recently made to the Medicare power mobility benefit. They want the policy revised.

"Medicare is seeking to save money on the mobility benefit at the expense of senior citizens and people of all ages with disabilities," said Barbara Crane, PhD, PT, ATP, and co- coordinator of the Clinician Task Force. "Clinically, it is standard professional practice to address all mobility needs for typical daily activities; we aim for individuals to be as mobile as possible. This policy conflicts with accepted medical practice, and will confine people to their homes and in some cases to a single room in their homes."

Under the procedures scheduled for implementation on Oct. 1, Medicare coverage for power wheelchairs and scooters will be restricted to inexpensive, low-powered models leaving people with degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or post polio syndrome in the position of no longer qualifying for an appropriate level power chair that also plans for their future medical needs. This shortsighted approach will unnecessarily cost the taxpayers more in the future when patients have additional medical and mobility needs.

Currently, Medicare pays for power mobility equipment only if it is required to help a beneficiary perform essential daily activities inside their home, such as eating, dressing or using the bathroom. However, the coverage policy previously allowed beneficiaries to receive a power wheelchair also capable of outdoor use, so many individuals were active in their communities and could go to the store, shopping or to the bank.

"After Oct. 1, many beneficiaries will receive wheelchairs that don't meet their needs," said Henry Claypool, an advocate from the Independence Care System. "It makes no sense that Medicare should pay for a wheelchair that won't maneuver over the threshold of a sliding glass door. At a minimum, Medicare must facilitate people leaving their homes in emergency situations instead of making them prisoners in their homes."

Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, agreed, saying, "It is outrageous that Medicare will seek to cut costs by victimizing people who most need their assistance. These changes will impact the thousands of people who will need power wheelchairs and scooters now and in the coming weeks, months and years. As Baby Boomers grow older, there will be an increased need to meet their mobility needs, but Medicare won't be there for them."

Technically, the new standard will require that a Medicare beneficiary be unable to stand and pivot to get into the seat of a power wheelchair or scooter to be eligible for the best of the inexpensive, low-powered models that CMS will cover after Oct. 1.

"It is unfortunate that new CMS guidelines are not intended to meet the functional needs of Medicare beneficiaries," said Laura Cohen, PhD, PT, ATP, a co-coordinator of the Clinician Task Force. "They are based on cost-cutting standards that require individuals to be completely non-ambulatory to receive an appropriate mobility device. These rules will undoubtedly force many beneficiaries into inappropriate and low-functioning mobility devices. And that is not in the best medical interest of these individuals or fiscally responsible to taxpayers." (above courtesy U.S. Newswire)

We do hereby petition Medicare, Members of Congress and the House of Representatives, along with all functionaries and/or policy-makers involved in the CMS Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance decision process regarding this travesty, to NOT ALLOW the essential mobility needs and critical safety necessities on behalf of disabled Americans to be undermined thusly.

Ergo: WE URGENTLY DEMAND EXPEDIENT REJECTION OR WITHDRAWAL of this crippling policy, this travesty of the loss of personal freedoms and compromise of the safety of America's large disabled voting constituency, before our fragile quality of life, hope and even the potential for lives to be lost results from its restrictive, obviously ill-conceived exclusions and constraints to be soon applied by the pending implementation.

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Latest Signatures

  • 04 December 2015249. Patricia Gc
    : i am a disablility volunteer and i vote ZIP Code or State: 42078
  • 15 November 2015248. Gene S
    I support this petition
  • 04 November 2015247. John Pm
    I support this petition
  • 18 October 2015246. Douglas Ce
    : I have intimate contact with power chair users. This legislation is another example of prejudicial treatment of people with impairments. It is unconscionable. ZIP Code or State: NY 14580 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 24 September 2015245. Michael Pd
    I support this petition
  • 15 September 2015244. John Lwashingtonj
    I support this petition
  • 31 August 2015243. Lee Re
    I support this petition
  • 23 June 2015242. John Mp
    I support this petition
  • 21 June 2015241. Lillian W
    : mother of disabled ZIP Code or State: 91722 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 17 June 2015240. Jane S
    I support this petition
  • 19 May 2015239. Tom M
    : This is the democratic approach. Let's use it and spread the word to all disability groups! ZIP Code or State: 32920 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 12 May 2015238. Marsha P
    : Its hard enough for people with disablilities in the world, already. Don't make it any worse. ZIP Code or State: Florida Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 21 April 2015237. William Charlest
    : Obviously Some Able Bodied Persons Attempt At Humor? ZIP Code or State: New Hampshire 03276 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 03 April 2015236. Connie S
    I support this petition
  • 29 March 2015235. Maureen L
    I support this petition
  • 27 February 2015234. William G
    : not affected as of today but could be some day ZIP Code or State: 45862 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 10 February 2015233. Diane K
    I support this petition
  • 29 December 2014232. Erin M
    I support this petition
  • 24 December 2014231. Penny C
    : America's elderly/disabled deserve MUCH BETTER than what little is being offered to them. ZIP Code or State: 32220 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 01 December 2014230. Mildred Il
    : I'm an American living in Canada ZIP Code or State: Iowa Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 27 October 2014229. Helen Clarea
    : If these law-makers/law-breakers became mobility disabled, or one of their loved ones did, they'd certainly be whistling a different tune!!!!! ZIP Code or State: 27604 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 19 October 2014228. Anita B
    : I, my family and friends all vote. ZIP Code or State: Kansas Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 18 September 2014227. Mary Ls
    I support this petition
  • 15 September 2014226. Joanne Rs
    I support this petition
  • 05 September 2014225. Dianne S
    : It is unimaginable that it is necessary to rob programs for handicapped persons so that others may have tax breaks the size of Texas. ZIP Code or State: 57783 Are you Wheelchair-Disabled? No
  • 16 August 2014224. Judith Annl
    I support this petition
  • 16 August 2014223. Constance S
    I support this petition

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Mona CohenBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
Congress, Representatives, Medicare


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