Does Medicare Cover Welectric Wheel Chair Repairs – Asim Dietrich, an attorney with the Arizona Disability Law Center, gets bumped by the airline every time he flies in his special motorized wheelchair.
“Most disabled people have special wheelchairs because we’re all different and have different circumstances,” said Dietrich, who has relied on a ventilator and motorized wheelchair to live independently for 20 years.
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While airlines are required by federal law to repair or replace damaged seats, “Scheduling repairs can be time-consuming because there are so many companies that actually supply and service wheelchairs,” he said. “So a person with a wheelchair injury can often wait weeks or months for repairs to be planned and completed.”
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Dietrich recalls the time his wheelchair broke down on a flight from his home in Phoenix to Baltimore, where he was scheduled to attend a weeklong conference.
“The airline told me they couldn’t fix the thing for a couple of weeks, so I spent a week in Baltimore unable to control my chair,” Dietrich said.
He had to rely on his care to guide him around the conference. Two weeks after returning home, his chair was finally fixed.
An estimated 5.5 million people rely on wheelchairs, but Skywalker says airlines often overlook the importance of wheelchairs for mobility and independence.
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Wheelchair dependent passengers are usually required to surrender their seats to the airline baggage handler responsible for transporting them to their destination. But this is not always the case.
According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), approximately 29 wheelchairs and scooters were damaged or lost every day in 2019. This is the first year that such complaints have been collected. According to the DOT, an average of 32 wheelchairs and scooters were damaged or lost each day in January and February 2020, the most recent period before the Covid-19 pandemic caused a reduction in travel.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been charged with collecting the data since 2011, but in 2018, after Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois collected and released data on wheelchair and scooter injuries. In 2018, an arrangement was made to finance
Duckworth lost the use of both his legs and his right arm in 2004 when the helicopter he was piloting crashed while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq.
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“I know from personal experience that when an airline damages a wheelchair, it’s not just an inconvenience — it’s a complete loss of mobility and independence,” Duckworth said in a 2018 statement. “It was like taking my legs off. Me again.”
And awareness of the dangers has led some people to avoid air travel. Dietrich said damage to his seat on the flight, delays in repairing it and difficulties sitting in the cabin meant he had not flown for five years.
“I can’t provide any statistics, but I believe the frequent damage to wheelchairs by airlines and the difficulty and time it takes to repair items may put some people with disabilities off air travel,” he added.
Activists and officials have long pushed for more accountability and less harm to wheelchair users from airlines. After 22-year-old John Morris lost his legs and right arm in a car accident in 2012, he began a largely futile search for information on wheelchair travel. After five hundred flights in his motorized wheelchair, Morris is now the author of the Wheelchair Travel Blog, which provides advice for wheelchair travelers.
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“The reality is that more than 1 percent of the world’s population uses a wheelchair,” he wrote on his blog. “And about 20% have a disability that limits one or more activities of daily living.”
While DOT statistics show that only 1.5 percent of wheelchairs are lost or damaged by airlines each year, Morris believes the real number is closer to 50 percent. He encourages wheelchair users to report all damages.
Beyond Duckworth, organizations and activists are working to improve air travel. An amendment to the Air Carrier Access Amendment Act (ACAA) of 1968 is currently pending in the US Senate and would allow passengers and the Department of Justice to file civil suits for discrimination and at least related to the following: Allows setting lower standards for: loading and unloading wheelchairs and other equipment; seats; Access to toilets and proper storage of wheelchairs to reduce damage.
The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America is working with airline industry professionals, disability organizations, consumers, government to develop standard labeling and education to inform airlines how to properly operate, mobile device manufacturers and testing laboratories. To lift and pin properly and safely. . wheelchair
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which includes about 290 airlines, announced in early July that it had formed the first coalition to investigate and improve mobility. When wheelchairs are damaged in transit, “it is devastating for passengers because these devices are more than equipment – they are extensions of their bodies and essential to their independence,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in the announcement. said “We recognize that we are not where we want to be in this area.”
The coalition provides advice and recommendations to airlines and other stakeholders on essential policies, procedures and standards.
Also, All Wheels Up is the only organization that compiles research into bringing their strollers into the airplane cabin and assisting passengers who sit in them during the flight.
“Air travel is a nightmare for us these days, and many don’t even fly because of bad experiences,” writes Michelle Irwin on the organization’s website. He founded All Wheels Up in 2011 after trying to arrange a trip to Disney World for his young son, Grayson, who has spinal muscular atrophy.
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In 2016, All Wheels Up funded the first wheelchair crash test and presented the results to Congress, prompting the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to review the study, which is expected to be released on September 23. is
“All Wheels Up does not anticipate that this congressional investigation will lead to further investigation,” Irwin said. “Several companies have already taken steps and are working on solutions for wheelchair spaces on airplanes.”
All Wheels Up is currently working with SAE, the world-recognized professional standards organization for industry, including aviation, to create specifications for an FAA-approved wheelchair and an FAA-approved wheelchair docking station.
While these improvements are underway, John Morris offers advice on air travel for wheelchair travelers on his Wheelchair Travel blog (he also has other tips based on mode of transportation and destination):
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Despite the best preventative measures, some wheelchairs are damaged. If that happens, passengers should take these six steps, Morris and Corey Lee, an advocate for disabled travelers who also blog Curb Free with Corey Lee: We have our certified service center with capabilities computerized for electrical repairs. Let’s complete the diagnostics. . Wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, scooters and seating systems. Thanks to our extensive inventory of parts, we can provide same-day repairs to solve our customers’ problems as quickly as possible.
We understand how important independent mobility is to our customers, so we work hard to make sure our repairs are done on time.
If your electric wheelchair breaks down in any way, or needs replacing batteries or tires, we can repair and service it.
We can replace seats, wheels, tires, brakes and wheels, as well as repair most manual wheelchair parts.
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We specialize in custom fit and custom seating systems. We can also do a simple replacement of damaged cushions and covers.
Our company and technicians have years of experience that have repaired thousands of mobility devices such as electric wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, scooters and seating systems. We are factory trained and certified by the manufacturers of the products we sell and service. As a result, many of our customers are very satisfied with our services and continue to trust our ability to resolve any mobile device issues they may have.
We always want to make our mobile devices available to our customers. That is why we are very sensitive to repairs so that they can always enjoy free mobility.
Find answers to frequently asked questions about our power wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, scooters and seating system repair services below. If you have any further questions, please contact one of our customer service representatives.
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If the repair is covered by major insurance companies such as Medicare, Medicaid, or other government agencies, there is no charge for the evaluation and diagnosis. If it is a privately funded repair, we will pay for the diagnostic evaluation; However, if you choose to repair with us, you will be charged the full cost of the repair.
The cost of repairs will depend on how much work is required to service the equipment and whether it is a power wheelchair, manual wheelchair, scooter or seating system. If there are parts that need to be ordered, a written estimate or quote will be provided before repairs begin.