Take Action for Wheelchair Repairs and Equipment in Illinois

Here is an action alert developed by Access Living’s Director of Advocacy and by United Spinal. The alert calls on the community to support legislation that protects access to wheelchairs and wheelchair repair.

Wheelchair Repair

There's a common misconception among legislators and Medicaid administrators that all wheelchairs are alike. Those of us who use wheelchairs on a daily basis know that nothing could be farther from the truth. We have two opportunities for action in Springfield that we cannot pass up. The following action alerts were set up by our allies at United Spinal.

First, in July 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the SMART Act. It was intended to cut Illinois' Medicaid budget significantly. Among the many troubling parts of this law, there is a requirement that every wheelchair needing a repair through the Medicaid program must go through a prior approval process. The prior approval process will add 60-90 days of administrative review to EVERY wheelchair repair BEFORE any repairs are made. This review period is not acceptable to people with disabilities.

State Senator Donne E. Trotter has introduced Senate Bill 1734, which will change the law and only require prior approval on repairs:

*When any single part needing repair will cost more than $500, or
*When the total repair cost will exceed $1500, or
*When 8 or more units of labor will be billed.

This law will also redefine the payment rate for manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, seating and positioning systems and related options and accessories.

To take quick action to alert your legislators to support SB 1734.
(see column to right)

Complex Rehab Technology

Second, wheelchairs that are individually configured and highly customized to meet the need of its users are called "complex rehab technology" or "CRT" by the Medicare and Medicaid programs. These are typically ultralight manual wheelchairs or advanced power wheelchairs and seating systems.

As Illinois implements major cuts to its Medicaid program, we are trying to protect access to CRT for people who depend on this equpment for their independence and quality of life.

Please write to your Illinois legislators and ask them to support SB 1733 and HB 2502 - the Complex Needs Patient Act - before March 22, 2013.

To take quick action on SB 1733 and HB 2502. (see column to right)

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