Medicare created a terrible program called “competitive bidding” that expanded to more areas in the country July 1, 2013. It is what it sounds like – Medicare picks medical equipment companies, in your area that have agreed to provide equipment and services for a rock-bottom cost. The old saying applies here; “you get what you pay for,” Medicare recipients in “competitive bidding” areas may receive the cheapest equipment and the lousiest service possible.
You-get-what-you-pay-for-I-guess. A wheelchair is an amazing mechanical device providing independence for many; and, as a mechanical device, it requires periodic maintenance. This is logical; yet, one of the dire consequences of Medicare’s program affecting wheelchair users is the scarcity of medical equipment suppliers that are able to provide wheelchair repairs. Too many Americans who use wheelchairs are now left with no means of independent movement.
Because of this program wheelchair repairs can take weeks or even months. What seems illogical, unhealthy and possibly dangerous is being stuck, literally unable to move from wherever the wheelchair decided to break down. We have heard some horrifying wheelchair repair stories.
Medicare thinks this program, (that limits choice and access to equipment and services) will save taxpayer dollars, yet the opposite is probably more likely; with access to the right wheelchair and service – Medicare would save money. And, wheelchair users would have the opportunity to be more independent, go to school, work, the grocery store – everyday activities most Americans take for granted.
If you are fed up with this less than acceptable service and have experienced problems since July 1, 2013 – tell your wheelchair repair story here. Your identity will be protected. Speak out now to help put a stop to these problems.
Ann Eubank, LMSW, OTR/L, ATP
VP Community Initiatives
UsersFirst, a program of United Spinal Association
This story was originally posted at UsersFirst.org.