Lauren is thirty-eight years old and lives in Littleton, Colorado. She loves spending time with her friends and supporting the disability community. Lauren uses speech generating device and is described as a very funny person. She is diagnosed with quadripelgic spastic athetoid cerebral palsy.
A Numotion customer of twenty-two years, Lauren recently received the first LUCI system in the US that was fully funded by public healthcare insurance. It is a new hardware and software product – the first of its kind – that uses sensor-fusion technology to provide stability, collision avoidance, and connectivity for power wheelchairs. LUCI is a brand new product that had only been available for a couple months when Lauren and her family first learned of it during her most recent seating and mobility evaluation.
Numotion Assistive Technology Professional, Bert Lindholm
, and Lauren’s occupational therapist, Michelle Lange, were aware of her driving difficulties and wanted to find a solution to offer her greater safety and independence.
Lauren has tipped her chair over twice trying to navigate obstacles. “She has wanted to be independent, but with increased fear, she was limited,” said Christy, Lauren's mom.
Following delivery and instruction on how to use the LUCI system, Christy watched in amazement as Lauren went through doorways, navigated a curb cut, and entered their van using a ramp without any assistance. She has since managed to take ‘walks’ outside with a caregiver and is navigating throughout her home without incident.
Obtaining insurance coverage on groundbreaking new products like LUCI can be challenging because it doesn’t fit into a standard, pre-existing category. When asked about how they were able to obtain insurance funding, Christy and Michelle credit the very strong letter of medical necessity that was submitted with the insurance claim. “Letters of medical necessity are very important in today’s health coverage world,” said Christy. “You must explain why other technology, perhaps less expensive, will not meet the need. You must clearly explain benefits of the device, cost savings, and other considerations, such as previously tipping a large power wheelchair, due to low vision.”
(Even though Lauren was able to obtain insurance funding for LUCI, not all customers will have the same outcome. Funding policies and decisions vary greatly among private, federal and state health insurance providers. Some customers who wish to get a LUCI system may have to pay out of pocket.)
Christy is very familiar with this dynamic because she works for an organization called Family Voices CO. Family Voices is a national organization that helps families navigate healthcare for children and those with special healthcare needs. The organization provides guidance on its website, www.familyvoicesco.org
, for letters of medical necessity and what should be included to clearly communicate with insurance providers. Letters of medical necessity for complex rehab technology must be submitted by the evaluating clinician, along with input from the entire team and a credentialed Assistive Technology Professional.
Lauren describes the process of obtaining medical equipment as an always interesting educational experience full of twists and turns, literally and figuratively speaking. She also said that her world would not be the same without her Numotion team; “it takes a village to support people with disabilities and they are a critical part of my village.”
Christy admits that it is a difficult task to qualify for wheelchair seating in Colorado. “The work of getting seating and mobility equipment for people with special health care needs is one of detail and time,” said Christy.
“Numotion has a tough job and we all have to work as a team. I believe Numotion works hard to do the best they can for clients. Thanks to a great team of support and her LUCI system, Lauren is enjoying newfound independence in driving - we hope to see many more receive this gift of independence.”