One of the tenants that I live by is a quote by Maya Angelou: “Know better, do better.” I’ve never understood why we hold so tight to our beliefs and outdated ways of doing something when we learn more and have access to new advancements, like technology. With the advancement of wheelchairs, like the widespread use of seat elevation technology, more people have greater access to more of their worlds. To date, however, the distribution of technology hasn’t been evenly distributed.
Insurance Denies Access to Seat Elevation
Almost every time I share a photo of me using the iLevel® feature on my Quantum Power Wheelchair, another person with a disability adds a comment that they’ve tried to access seat elevation technology for their wheelchair, but were denied by insurance. For people with Medicare, there’s an outright and automatic denial without consideration of the individual needs of the person.
Seat Elevation Improves Health Outcomes
For many people on Medicare, they don’t have another option for insurance. Thus, some people have access to seat elevation and others do not. There are a number of benefits to this technology, such as easy transfers and lessening tension on shoulders and backs from the constant straining to look up. These benefits are currently only available to some, not all Americans with disabilities.
Gatekeeping technology that could improve people’s health harms all of us. In the United States, we pay more for healthcare but have worse health outcomes. Making access to technology that can benefit people’s health, such as iLevel on a Quantum Power Wheelchair, more equitable is a good move for all of us.
Whether you use seat elevation technology, would like to, or want others who need it to have access, submit a comment by September 14.
About Kara Ayers: Kara is a mother of three and lives in Ohio. She is an associate professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. In 2021, Kara spoke to the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Equity Taskforce about the need for people with disabilities to access the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to learn more about Kara.
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