A huge thank you to the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association (AMRPA) for writing such a beautiful article on so many challenges many of us wheelchair users continually strive to fight for health equity in our community!


Seat Elevation: A Campaign for Coverage

Despite Ali’s optimism, which continues to shine through in her effervescent personality, the American healthcare system has proven itself to be a formidable foe in the fight to obtain coverage for medically necessary equipment. Much of Ali’s advocacy over the past few years has centered around a couple key pieces of equipment: seat elevators and standing wheelchairs. Each of these devices massively improve quality of life for their users, allowing far greater freedom of movement, independence, and safety.[PS1] 
So, when in 2020 Ali was eligible for a new power wheelchair, it only made sense to request a chair with power seat elevation. The request was promptly denied, however, beginning a months-long battle that eventually culminated in Ali successfully obtaining a seat elevation chair after exhausting all possible appeals. There was one caveat, though: The decision to cover the new chair, according to her carrier, was not a precedent — in other words, the decision would not apply to others who would benefit similarly from the equipment. Though Ali was ecstatic to be receiving the equipment, the decision seemed less like a major victory and more like placating someone who refused to give up when most people would.
Unsurprisingly —it’s what she was arguing for all along! — seat elevation “has transformed my life,” Ali recently told AMRPA’s Medical Rehab Matters podcast. For her, it means tasks such as cooking, brushing her teeth and transferring from her wheelchair to her bed can now be completed independently and safely. In seeing how medically necessary a power seat elevator indeed is, Ali did not give up the fight but instead continued to be a part of the campaign to have CMS classify all power seat elevators as medically necessary — not just hers.

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