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Bureaucracy Cut for Owners of Motorized and
 Manual Wheelchairs


New York Governor Patterson orders medical providers to supply loaner equipment when repairs or placements are delayed for owners of motorized or manual wheelchairs. Disabled citizens such as Stephanie Ocana no longer have to be demobilized by a lack of equipment while waiting for her wheelchair to be fixed. Patterson hopes to minimalize delays and interruptions previously suffered by these citizens when waiting for their motorized or manual wheelchairs to be serviced.

Recently, a young Bronx girl was kept out of school and stranded in her apartment for over one month while her wheelchair was receiving repairs. Upon hearing this situation New York’s Governor Patterson has begun to implement policies that may cut some of the bureaucracy faced by Medicaid patients. “Delays that keep people captive in their homes are intolerable,” Patterson said.

Governor Patterson’s changes involve a mandatory action for medical providers to supply loaner equipment when repairs or placements are delayed. The Providers must then promptly respond to Health Department requests for documentation and proper training for certain patients and the equipment. Also, Medicaid would be required to organize and publish “report cards” to show patients exactly how long it takes providers to repair motorized or manual wheelchairs or order new ones. Even further, this past July 1st it was declared the Health Department must stop requiring a doctor’s note for most wheelchair repairs.

These revisions came about after the Daily News chronicled the situation of Stephanie Ocana, an 11-year old suffering from cerebral palsy. Her backup equipment wasn’t stable enough to use so she was forced to stay in her 7th story apartment until her primary equipment was fully repaired.

These new regulations could mean many changes for members of the disabled community who currently use motorized or manual wheelchairs. No longer will their lives be interrupted by a basic requirement for a simple tune up or full-scaled maintenance repair.