Does Medicare Part A cover wheelchair van transportation?

Ktunnell asked...

Does Medicare part A cover wheelchair van transportation to and from a nursing home for Dialysis treatment?

Expert Answer

Not Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospital or nursing facility care. But there's a small chance that Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care, might cover wheelchair van transportation. Normally, Medicare Part B only covers ambulance transportation, and only in an emergency when any other form of transportation would endanger your health. It does not usually cover non-emergency transportation between home and a doctor's office or treatment facility. In a few cases, however, if a doctor prescribes special transportation in order to protect a patient's health, Medicare Part B might consider paying for it. Discuss the possibility with the doctor who is overseeing the dialysis, and see if the doctor is willing to prescribe such transportation. If so, you would then have to find a van company that participates in Medicare, and the van company would have to submit the doctor's prescription to Medicare Part B for approval. All in all, the odds are against it.

A more likely way to find help with the cost of wheelchair van transportation is through a local community medical transportation program. You can ask at the dialysis center and the nursing home if they know of any such program. Or, you can call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116; they can direct you to a local medical transportation program in your area.