Wheelchair vs Transport Chairs

My husband has had Parkinson's symptoms since 2003 and is now considered an Advanced Parkinson's patient. He needs a wheelchair for traveling any distance so we're wondering if a transport chair would be better that a standard wheelchair. Also, if we order through the internet does anyone know of a relaible company that accepts an emailed doctor's precription so we can be reimbursed by Medicare. Does Medicare designate specific wheelchairs be ordered? We'd appreciate any advice.

15 Replies

  • A transport chair is lighter weight, so you might consider it for your sake, lifting it in and out or the car, house etc. If your husband is heavy you might need a more durable wheelchair. We got our wheelchair from a medical equipment recycle place. We get to use it for free and it was brand new. I dk of any place that you can purchase a medical item and they bill medicare. I tried to find a place like that when we purchased his lift chair. I was told if you wanted Medicare/medicaid to pay you had to go through a local medical equipment store. We live in Pa, so it might be different in another area. Good luck, if I can help with more info just let me know.

  • Thank you so much for the information. My husband has lost a lot of weight so he doesn't need a large or heavy chair. We might be rolling it onto grass ballfields to watch our grandchildren play sports so I wondered about the wheels. I did not know about the medical necessity letter so I will contact medicare and our other insurance company about that. Also didn't know about the Red Cross so I'll check with them as well. Thanks again.

  • Did you know there are wheelchairs that have big tires so you can take them on the sand! Wheelchairs have come along way. I wonder about motorized wheelchairs sometimes. I have a hard time pushing my hubby. I am small and have my own health problems. And I am not as young as I would like to be. I do know that there are durable medical items that can only be gotten (through your insurance) every so many years, and a wheelchair is one of them. You might need to think about the future when choosing. I don't want to make the decision harder on you, but we found out the hard way, when we received the wheelchair from medical recycle they must have billed our insurance or something because when we tried to get a rollator they said we couldn't get one since we had a wheelchair. We purchased a rollator/transport chair with our own money after finding that out. It works the best for us because my hubby can use it to walk till he is tired then we flip down the foot supports and he sits and I push. It is not as stable as the wheelchair, and we still use the wheelchair on occasions that are best suited to it. Our chair is a made by Hugo and I didn't see it in the E-bay listings. ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R... I am not sure if I would purchase it again or not

  • Due to the bureaucratic tangle of Medicare with "competetive bid" areas, etc., we decided, for now, to purchase a transport chair from Amazon. Ended up with a deal from their warehouse merchandise but will wait until it arrives before celebrating. We can get a wheelchair through Medicare later if needed, but we need this one now. Thanks again for all your input. It's so helpful to find others who have been through the process.

  • I suspect that most people in our area go through medical retail stores to acquire wheelchairs. Online prices seemed better though. Had not thought about the recycling opportunity so will look into that. Someone mentioned that Red Cross will loan equipment, so there seem to be options I hadn't thought about. Thank you so much!

  • When I purchase medical equipment on line, I first try to find out what our co-pay will be if purchasing through "regular" channels. That seems to be getting harder and harder to find out though. If the co-pay is less that an on line price for an equivalent item I get the item on line. The problem with that is you need to know exactly what you want. That is where your local retail stores can help, or the Red Cross or medical recycle, (they are usually associated with hospitals. We have gotten other equipment from medical recycle that makes our life easier, but maybe were not "medically necessary " from them. Item such as a device to help put on socks, a "grabber" and a device to help my hubby roll over in bed. They are happy to help in any whey they can

  • A certificate of medical necessity must be completed by the doctor in addition to writing the script for Medicare reimbursement. Before you "buy" anything, go to a Medical Supply Store showroom and "test" it out. Transport chairs are lighter weight and smaller. If he is a big man, he may find it uncomfortable. If he will be sitting in it for long periods, get a gel cushion and make sure the seat is not a sling which puts excess pressure on the hips . What Medicare allows changes. It would be prudent to call Medicare or your insurance company if you have an Advantage Plan or supplement.

  • You can also contact the Red Cross lending closet. They loan medical equipment at no charge. It would be a good way to find out what he really needs.

  • Discovered that Medicare has a lot of requirements that we'll have to research. For now, we just purchased a transport chair online for a reasonable price. My life is so busy just trying to keep up with medical appts and preparing foods that hubby can eat that anything that requires a lot of thought...like Medicare regs....just takes too much time. I'll save the tips and use them later when we upgrade. Thanks again!

  • We love in S Wales Uk and have had on log term loan wheelchair supplied arranged for by the district nurse . Maybe if you have an OT she could arrange for any aids you will need . That is how it works for us . Sounds like we are fortunate .

  • Transport chair is hard to push on grass.

  • Thanks for the feedback. I'm hoping that my husband's low weight will make it somewhat easier. We may have to acquire a wheelchair later but for now we'll try the transport chair since most of our travel is indoors or on sidewalk.

  • I use both depending on the circumstances

  • Medicare has recently changed the law on wheel chairs , power chairs, batteries for the power chairs. You should check at a medical supply store that is approved by medicare. They have to assess the need and etc. now. I have to do that just trying to get batteries for my power chair, even with my doctors prescription. It is a mess now. I called medicare and they said I didn't need any of that , but I went to their billing department and they said they would not reimburse me, if I got the batteries myself that I have to go through these procedures. I went through these procedures 7 years ago through tricare ( Military insurance) and now I have to do it again. They said there is too much fraud out there and this is why.I have had a major stroke, Parkinson's with dystonia of the feet. Cheaper to get the batteries ($300.00)at the Battery store, but medicare won't reimburse me. I have to go to the approved medical store and the batteries over $500.00.

  • I find that transport chair is good exactly for that transport only! Easier to breakdown and easier to push. Husband received an electric wheel chair from the VA. We didn'thave to wait at all, perhaps it was because VA was nearing their fiscal year end.

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