Friday, February 4, 2011

Michigan Medicaid: Access to Adaptive Equipment Becoming More Difficult

I just got word today that Wright and Flippis will no longer be providing durable medical equipment for clients with straight Michigan Medicaid or Children's Special Healthcare Services. This is a huge hit to anyone with Michigan Medicaid especially handicapped kids.

This is my understanding of the Michigan Medicaid issues based on discussions with people from Mary Free Bed, University of Michigan and Wright and Flippis.

A few years ago Medicaid began making severe cuts which affected durable medical equipment (DME), the cuts were so severe many of the smaller DME companies went out of business. As DME companies began to go under getting wheelchairs, bath chairs, patient lifts etc. for handicapped children became very difficult.

Fortunately larger DME providers such as Mary Free Bed, University of Michigan, Carelinc and Wright and Flippis were able to pick up the slack and with MUCH effort and loads of documentation we have been able to get equipment for handicap kids.

Last year Medicaid instated 'manual pricing' which is paying DME providers 17% above invoice costs. Invoice costs vary depending on payment terms and volume discounts which are variables that are not consistent. Paying DME providers 17% above invoice costs is not enough to cover the overhead involved in evaluating, processing, ordering, delivering and maintaining equipment.

This year Medicaid is shaking things up again, now Medicaid is stating that accessories needed for positioning are included in the base price of the equipment.

For instance, a stander base is one price but the accessories required to position the person in the stander such as shoe holders, lateral supports, seat backs etc. are a la carte items that are priced separately.

Medicaid is not paying for the accessories required for the equipment those costs would fall on the DME vendors.

No business can survive when costs exceed income.

So what's the issue? Medicaid is broke, our state is faltering. As Medicaid cuts go into effect the economic landscape of Michigan will continue to fail. More and more businesses will go under and our people will not have access to medical services and equipment.

The only way to change the system and to bring this issue to the forefront is to contact your State Representatives and Senators. Below are web links to access your Congressmen and Senators, please call and let them know, 'Your child/client/etc. is not able to access medical equipment through Medicaid.' Tell them your story.

State Representatives:


Any suggestions, please post comments.

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