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Welcome to the NSM Monthly Minute

July 2021 | In this issue:

  • CMS Temporarily Extends Rate Protections for Manual CRT Accessories
  • Wheelchair Clinic Brings Technology-Driven Care During the Pandemic
  • Monthly Products Showcase: Perks of Power Assist
  • NSM Client Spotlight: Sean Simonson Achieved Peak Performance During the Pandemic

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CMS extends rate protection for manual CRT accessoriesRequired Documentation & Payer Policies for New Equipment & Repair Orders

The time it takes to provide a Complex Rehab Technology wheelchair and seating, which by definition are medically necessary, can be frustrating for consumers, clinicians, suppliers and referral sources. More frustration over long wait times can also occur when that medically necessary wheelchair needs repairs. National Seating & Mobility's Gerry Dickerson and Charles Sargeant discuss why these delays continue to happen, and how streamlining the equipment provision and service system can benefit all stakeholders, including funding sources.

Monthly Minute Archive

Click 'Expand' to Access Past Issues

  • June 2021

    • June 2021 Monthly Minute - in this issue:

      • CMS Temporarily Extends Rate Protections for Manual CRT Accessories
      • Wheelchair Clinic Brings Technology-Driven Care During the Pandemic
      • Monthly Products Showcase: Perks of Power Assist
      • NSM Client Spotlight: Sean Simonson Achieved Peak Performance During the Pandemic
  • May 2021

    • May 2021 Monthly Minute - in this issue:

      • Introducing Let's Get Moving Magazine
      • The Next Crisis: Unsafe Housing for an Aging America
      • Monthly Products Showcase: One Step Closer to Medicare Coverage for Power Seat Elevation & Standing
      • NSM Client Spotlight: Kellie Morris Living a Performance-Driven Life
  • April 2021

    • April 2021 Monthly Minute - in this issue:

      • The Essential Home Accessibility Checklist to a Safe & Access Home
      • Do Your Part to Stop Cuts to CRT Manual Wheelchair Accessories
      • Monthly Products Showcase: Bariatric Products
      • NSM Client Spotlight: Diana Holmes
  • March 2021

    • March 2021 Monthly Minute - in this issue:

      • COVID-19: My Perspective One Year Later
      • CMS Updates DEMPOS Fee Schedule
      • Monthly Products Showcase: LUCI
      • NSM Client Spotlight: Calvan Ferguson
  • February 2021

    • February 2021 Monthly Minute - in this issue:

      • NSM Expands Access to Smart Technology Platform with LUCI Distribution Agreement
      • Clinician Task Force Publishes Guide to Telehealth
      • Products Showcase: Power Seating Products
      • NSM Client Spotlight: Keagan Robinson
  • January 2021

    • January 2021 Monthly Minute - in this issue:

      • Driving Innovative Service Solutions During the Pandemic
      • A Better Solution for Your Injured Worker's Mobility & Accessibility Needs
      • Products Showcase: Power Assist for Manual Wheelchairs
      • NSM Client Spotlight: Luis Cruz

Perks of Power AssistMonthly Products Showcase: Connected Chair

Smart wheelchairs improve user confidence and decrease downtime. We've already got smart phones, smart cars and smart homes. Having a smart wheelchair just makes sense.

Providers can access


In the simplest terms, power assist provides manual wheelchair users with power when they need it. Power assist: 

  • Requires less force to propel, reducing the number of pushes needed to go the same distance;
  • Makes it easier to propel over difficult terrain such as grass, gravel, carpet, curb cuts, ramps and inclines;
  • Allows users to do more while using less energy, which helps fight fatigue and overuse injuries, such as carpal tunnel and rotator cuff problems. “Power assist helps give people the ability to do more,” said Mike Salvi, director of mobility and seating at Invacare. “But it also helps prevent pain, fatigue and injury. Power assist can help reduce the risk of upper extremity injury due to decreased burden and helps users maintain more neutral joint positions.” 

Benefits to users include:

  • Greater connectivity: Bluetooth gives you the ability to control speed and customizable settings with an app. It’s now possible to control some products without being in the chair, making it easy to store when not being used.  
  • Safety: Many products offer increased speed to cross busy streets or assisted braking when going downhill, helping to make daily life a little more safe. 
  • Improved drivability and transportability: Thanks to continued innovations, products continue to get lighter and easier to remove for travel, while engines are becoming stronger and more efficient, helping you get where you’re going with a little less hassle. 


Manual wheelchair users have two main options when it comes to power assist: power assist wheels or an add-on unit. In deciding between the two, experts suggest taking stock of your goals and finding the right combination of options that fit your lifestyle. 

You and your care team should consider functional and comfort levels as well as safety when making decisions about which product might work best. If you qualify, power assist may be covered by insurance, whether you’re a new or existing user. Private pay options are also available. If you have questions, consult your doctor, therapist or National Seating & Mobility. 

Sean Simonson achieved peak performance during the pandemicNSM Client Spotlight: Kathleen Tevnan

Kathleen Tevnan has always been inspired by the arts. A painter, world-traveler and aspiring opera star, her passions have continued to fuel her studies and encouraged her to finetune her craft and knowledge of the arts. 

“As a student, my career goal was to study music and become a famous opera singer,” said Kathleen. “My very wise mother (and payer of my college tuition) insisted I have a back-up plan. Turned out, she was right.” 

After graduating from the University of Maryland in music education, Kathleen joined the Department of Defense Dependent Schools while pursuing her dreams of reaching opera fame. She completed a year of additional studies in London, and her years of living abroad were just beginning.

“Okinawa, Japan, was my first full-time job as an elementary music teacher with the DoD,” she said. “I then moved to Bad Kreuznach, Germany, and stayed for 18 years. We took every advantage of the location—driving trips to France, ski trips to Switzerland and Austria or spring break on the Italian coast. What an incredible life and an exceptional job teaching our American military children.” 

Back in the states in 2008, a fall left Kathleen with a cracked vertebra. What should have been a routine procedure resulted in a surgical error, leaving Kathleen a T-9 incomplete paraplegic. 

“My injury was life-altering, but not life-ending,” Kathleen said. “Following my injury, I found that I can no longer take images of the world for granted.” 

Kathleen’s passion for the arts did not subside, and she began attending a weekly watercolor painting class that ultimately inspired her to enroll in a three-year Master of Arts program. 

“The hours spent at the easel embolden me as I understood that though certain avenues may have closed to me, other gorgeous ones have opened,” said Kathleen. “As my experience with painting has grown over the years, so too has my confidence.” 

More than 10 years later, Kathleen continues to paint, pursue new avenues for learning and enter her pieces in art shows. 

While the pandemic has paused in-person learning, Kathleen is currently taking painting classes through the Zoom platform. 

“My instructor, Roberto Osti, uses the technology to his advantage and to the advantage of his students,” she says. "The platform has opened doors for all painters, not just those with a disability."

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