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How do I get a power wheelchair?

Step-by-Step Consumer Guide to Medicare Coverage

The coverage criteria for power mobility devices (i.e. power wheelchairs and scooters) has changed and we want to help you to better understand these changes. In order to determine if a power mobility device is right for you, you will need to follow these steps.

Step 1

Visit with your physician for a face-to-face examination and discuss your mobility options.

Medicare now requires a face-to-face examination with your physician prior to writing a prescription for a power mobility device. During your exam, your physician must first consider the use of cane, walker, and manual wheelchair before considering a scooter or power wheelchair. If your physician feels that your mobility needs must be resolved with a scooter or power wheelchair, this also conduct and additional assessment if your physician deems it necessary.

Step 2

Have your physician fax or mail the written prescription and medical records to your Mobility Supplier. The Mobility Supplier must receive the written prescription and supporting documentation (medical records) within 45 days from the date of your face-to-face examination.

Once received, the Mobility Supplier will work with you and your physician to determine the appropriate scooter or power wheelchair model for your needs. You must have a power wheelchair evaluation performed by an OT/AT or PT. The doctor must sign and approve the OT/AT or PT evaluation prior to the Supplier doing a home assessment.

Step 3

Your Mobility Supplier will conduct a home assessment to ensure that you have adequate access and maneuverability space.

The primary reason for a power mobility device is to compensate for your mobility limitations within your home and your ability to perform activities of daily living including toileting, grooming, bathing, dressing, and eating. Therefore, it is critical to determine if your home environment will support the use of a scooter or power wheelchair.

Step 4

Your Mobility Supplier will order the power mobility device prescribed by your physician or treating practitioner, deliver it to your home and instruct you on how to operate it. Delivery of the scooter or power wheelchair must be no more the 120 days following your face-to-face exam.