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Prescribing Mobility Products

Physician meetingOnce you've determined from the face-to-face mobility examination that your patient's mobility needs would best be served with a power wheelchair, you'll need to provide the following documentation within 45 days of your face-to-face mobility examination:

  • Chart Note from Mobility Examination (Include all documentation as required by Medicare - see Determining Mobility Needs)
  • Prescription for Power Mobility Device (includes all 7 elements)
  • Chart notes from your patient's last 3-6 office visits

Once the supplier has determined the specific power mobility device that is appropriate for the patient based on the physician's order, the supplier must prepare a written detailed product description (DPD) that lists the specific base (HCPCS code and either a narrative description of the item or the manufacturer name/model) and all options and accessories that will be separately billed.

The physician must sign and date this detailed product description and the supplier must receive it prior to delivery of the electric wheel chair or electric scooter.

The 7-element written order must include:
  • Beneficiary's (patient's) name
  • Detailed description of item that is ordered
  • Date of the face-to-face examination
  • Pertinent diagnosis/conditions that relate to the need for a power wheelchair
  • Length of time the patient will need the device
  • Physician's signature
  • Date of physician's signature

The face-to-face examination shall provide information relating to the following questions

  • Chief complaint - the major reason for the office visit was to contact Mobility Examination.
  • Complete Physical Assessment as relevant to mobility limitations.
  • What medical condition(s) limit your patient's ability to participate in Mobility Related Acts of Daily Living (MRADLs) in their home?
  • List what MRADLs in the home are impaired due to your patient's mobility limitation.
  • Why can't a cane or walker meet your patient's mobility needs in the home?
  • Why can't a manual wheelchair meet your patient's mobility needs in the home?
  • Why can't an electric scooter (POV) meet your patient's mobility needs in the home?
  • Does this patient have the physical and mental abilities to operate an electric wheel chair safely in the home?
  • Is the patient willing and motivated to use a power wheelchair?

The chart note shall provide pertinent information about the following elements, but may include other details. Each element would not have to be addressed in every evaluation.

  • Symptoms
  • Related diagnoses
  • History
  • How long the condition has been present
  • Clinical progression
  • Interventions (including medications) that have been tried and the results
  • Past use of walker, manual wheelchair, electric scooter, electric wheel chair and the results
  • Physical exam
  • Weight
  • Impairment of strength, range of motion, sensation, or coordination of arms and legs
  • Presence of abnormal tone or deformity of arms, legs, or trunk
  • Neck, trunk, and pelvic posture and flexibility
  • Sitting and standing balance
  • Functional assessment – any problems with performing the following activities:
    • The need to use a cane, walker or the assistance of another person
    • transferring between a bed, chair, and PMD
    • walking around their home – to bathroom, kitchen, living room, etc.
    • provide information on distance the patient is able to walk without stopping, speed and balance

The elements that are addressed will depend on the diagnoses that are responsible for the mobility deficit. For example, for patients with COPD, heart failure or arthritis, the major emphasis will be on symptoms and history of the progression of their condition rather than on the physical examination.

Functional assessment

Physicians shall also provide reports of pertinent laboratory tests, x-rays, and/or other diagnostic tests (e.g., pulmonary function tests, cardiac stress test, electromyogram, etc.) performed in the course of management of the patient.

Although patients who qualify for coverage of a power chair may use that device outside the home, because Medicare's coverage of a wheelchair is determined solely by the patient's mobility needs within the home, the examination must clearly distinguish the patient's abilities and needs within the home from any additional needs for use outside the home.

Physicians shall document the evaluation in a detailed narrative note in their charts in the format that they use for other entries. The note must clearly indicate that a major reason for the visit was a mobility evaluation.