Medicare Demonstration to Study Rehabilitation for People with Vision Impairment
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is conducting a demonstration project to study the impact of standardized Medicare coverage for rehabilitation services that can be provided in the homes of beneficiaries with a diagnosis of moderate to severe visual impairment that cannot be corrected through conventional means or surgery.
Update: Effective April 1, 2008, CMS is expanding the coverage limitations of the Medicare Low Vision Rehabilitation Demonstration from the current 90-day, once in a lifetime limitation of 9 hours for vision rehabilitation services to a per calendar year limitation of 12 hours. See the CMS memo,"Revisions to Change Request (CR) 4294 - Low Vision Rehabilitation Demonstration, November 2, 2007" for further details.
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Reimbursement for low vision devices
The American Foundation for the Blind is a member of the ITEM Coalition. The mission of the ITEM Coalition (Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid) is to raise awareness and build support for policies that will improve access to assistive devices, technologies and services for people of all ages with disabilities and chronic conditions.
On June 30, 2006, AFB joined other members of the ITEM Coalition in submitting comments to CMS on the Low Vision Aid Exclusion in a May 1, 2006 proposed rule regarding Medicare's Competitive Acquisition for DMEPOS (Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies). The proposed exclusion states that all devices, "irrespective of their size, form, or technological features that use one or more lens to aid vision or provide magnification of images for impaired vision" will be hereafter excluded from Medicare coverage based on the statutory "eyeglass" exclusion.
ITEM Coalition comments.
Update: As at June 1, 2008, no final rule on the low vision aids has been published. AFB continues to monitor this issue.
Social Security Benefits
Miscellaneous items of general interest regarding Social Security are covered. For help with problems with Social Security benefits, contact NOSSCR, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives.