CMS Announces: Manual Wheel Chair Accessories are Permanently Exempt from the Competitive Bidding Program

Published in Complex Rehab on July 29, 2021

CMS announced today that manual wheelchair accessories will be permanently exempt from future competitive bidding programs.

As printed in the CMS fact sheet:

“CMS is finalizing an exclusion from fee schedule adjustments based on information from the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program (CBP) for wheelchair accessories (including seating systems) and seat and back cushions furnished in connection with group 3 or higher complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs. We are also extending this fee schedule adjustment exclusion to wheelchair accessories (including seating systems) and seat and back cushions furnished in connection with complex rehabilitative manual wheelchairs. Additionally, we are modifying the regulatory definition of “item” under the DMEPOS CBP at 42 CFR 414.402 to exclude complex rehabilitative manual wheelchairs and certain other manual wheelchairs and related accessories when furnished in connection with these wheelchairs from the DMEPOS CBP, as required by section 106(a) of the 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act.”

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/fiscal-year-fy-2022-inpatient-rehabilitation-facility-irf-prospective-payment-system-pps-final-rule

“This is indeed good news for providers of complex rehab technology. While this is big win for Complex Rehab Technology providers, it is huge for end users. This will result in the overall reduction of healthcare cost with proper seating and positioning for beneficiaries,” said Greg Packer, president of U.S. Rehab.

In 2017, legislation passed omitting power wheelchair accessories from CMS’s competitive bid program. But manual wheelchair accessories were not included in this legislation and remained in the competitive bid program. 

To address this gap, in December of 2019, Congress passed language from H.R. 1865 to make clear the intent was for both power and manual wheelchair accessories to be treated the same. The legislation included a provision suspending CMS’s application of Medicare’s competitive bid program pricing until June 30, 2021, allowing time for CMS to take the same permanent action. It was then extended 90 days.

Many thanks to Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) who for years have been our primary supporters of this exemption with legislative efforts and letters to CMS. We also want to thank all who reached out asking their legislators to support these efforts.

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