A proposal by President Bush to eliminate the first-month purchase option for power mobility devices (PMDs) was countered in a February 22 e-mail sent by the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS).

The message urged the organization’s registrants and industry supporters to express their concern to members of Congress over the proposal.

If the measure is passed it will restrict Medicare beneficiaries’ access to PMDs, according to NRRTS Executive Director, Simon Margolis. “Most of these products are very customized and there is no re-rental or resale market for them,” Margolis said. “The suppliers who provide these devices will not be able to sustain business under the new policy.”

Margolis said PMD purchase prices range from $4,000 to $12,000 and added that “significant up front costs” associated with manufacturing the products would cause a hardship on suppliers forced to wait more than a year to recover their costs.

“Parts manufacturers won’t wait that long to get paid,” Margolis said. “They’ll wait 30 days or 60 days, but not 13 months.”

Under the proposal monthly Medicare payments to the PMD supplier would stop if a beneficiary died or was admitted to a nursing home, according to Margolis, who said under such circumstances suppliers would also be left to absorb substantial manufacturing costs.

The measure is one component of the president’s proposed Department of Health and Human Services budget designed to save Medicare $65.6 billion over five years.

—Frank Long