Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Florida neglects wheelchair users to save money"

Revised on 6/18/07 Due to the ongoing discussion about Medicare we will publish a series of articles discussing this problem.

I am writing this letter on behalf of disabled people across the state of Florida because many disabled people are afraid to speak up for their rights. Many disabled people who rely on a combination of Medicaid and Medicare are suffering in silence, unable to get what they need in order to live a decent life and to avoid being in constant pain.

I was born 32 years ago with severe cerebral palsy. I grew up in Central Florida, where my family settled after leaving Laos.

Most people have no clue what people who are in wheelchairs have to deal with. Wheelchairs are like cars to disabled people, they are an absolute necessity. We need wheelchairs so that we can get around and live a normal life.

Wheelchairs need to be as comfortable as possible because we have to spend up to 12 hours or more a day in them. This is why wheelchairs cost a lot of money. Every little part has to be customized to fit our body so we won't get pressure points and sores.

In my case, most of the parts must be strong because of my strong muscle tone. When the wheelchair is not made to fit the person's body just right, it causes medical issues. And this costs the system more money.

It is becoming impossible to find a qualified wheelchair company that meets the needs of a person with severe disability. The good companies aren't taking clients with Medicare anymore. Good companies aren't getting paid on time and not getting paid what the equipment is really worth. This is because of the fact that the people who are in Tallahassee, when they make the laws, they don't seem to think about the disabled. All they seem to think about is how to save money.

So now we are stuck with companies that have no clue what to do with a severely disabled person.

Also, the idea that you must get three quotes is crazy. Then someone approves the lowest bid. That's not fair to us at all. We should be able to choose the company that we want. We are the ones who have to use the equipment. What happened to our right to choose?



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