Wheelchair repair reform: Mobility is a human right

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Healthcare in America leaves disabled people stranded for months, even years because of barriers to healthcare services that dictate wheelchair & mobility device repairs.

A mobility device is not a luxury item, it is a medical necessity needed for disabled people to live independent lives. The average wait time on a mobility device repair can range anywhere from one month to a year. There are a few problems that need to be fixed within the framework of healthcare and disability rights in regards to mobility device repairs.

1. A reasonable wait time
It is absurd that someone can potentially be bed-ridden for months because the wheelchair vendor is taking their time submitting a claim while going through all the steps the insurance company requires. This puts disabled lives in danger every single day. After submitting a mobility device repair claim to the insurance company, it can take months for an answer. We must put restrictions in place on how long an insurance company has to respond to a mobility device claim.

2. End the mobility device repair monopoly

Many disabled people have Medicaid as their insurance. Even if somebody has private insurance, the insurance companies only have contracts with two large mobility device companies. The in-network wheelchair  vendors are very limited & give disabled people hardly any options on who services their mobility device. In other words, these large companies have a monopoly with insurance companies on mobility device profits. The companies know this, and they take advantage of their customers. In the more simple terms, it’s basically like being able to only see one doctor. The insurance company you have will not give you any other options, so if you do not like the doctor, oh well. Insurance companies must start contracting with smaller vendors (like Ocean Conversion in south FL).

There must be change. The disability community is at the mercy of the services we rely on to live. Having only vendor option and waiting months on end to get a mobility device that repair is not acceptable by any human rights standard.

Accessibility is a human right, not a privilege.