HARTFORD, Conn. – Disabled residents and their advocates appreciated the Social Service Department’s decision to postpone new regulations for determining who qualifies for a customized wheelchair, but they still had concerns about how the current regulations are being applied.
Despite the snow, which made it difficult people to attend the Monday’s hearing, dozens of disabled individuals, their caregivers, clinicians, and wheelchair vendors turned out for an informational hearing at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Newington.
The draft regulations, which have since been scrapped by the department, would have changed who qualifies for wheelchairs under the Medicaid program and whether recycled parts can be used. State officials estimate that adopting new regulations could save it about $800,000. Annually, an average of 1,600 to 1,700 Medicaid beneficiaries receive customized wheelchairs.
Kate McEvoy, director of Medicaid Services for the department, said that based on comments from the disability community the agency decided not to implement the new regulations, which will instead go through the “full regulatory process.” In the meantime, it will continue to use the statutory definition of “medical necessity” to review requests for customized wheelchairs.
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