CMS Chronic Care Director Says Medicare is Overpaying for Supplies

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Laurence Wilson, director of the chronic care policy group at CMS, believes Medicare is overpaying substantially for wheelchairs, a problem he blames on medical supply companies and their powerful lobbies, according to a WRAL report.

Medicare rents to own equipment such as wheelchairs, which cost $104 a month for up to 13 months. At those wheelchair prices, Medicare can only break even if a patient needs a wheelchair  for a month or two, rather than an extended period of time.

According to a 2007 report cited in the WRAL report, Medicare fee schedule amounts for power wheelchairs were 45 percent higher than median Internet prices in the first quarter of 2007. Medicare payments for power wheelchairs have increased significantly in the last 15 years.

The WRAL report cited OIG audits that target overspending on power wheelchairs.

Read the WRAL report on power wheelchair spending.

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