Documenting medical need for custom seating… part one

Ride Custom Cushion and Back made for a pediatric client.

Navigating the U.S. Medicare guidelines for documenting the medical need for custom seating can seem daunting.  We’ll break it down for you here.

Part One

To start, Medicare requires that a beneficiary needing custom seating is seen by a Physical or Occupational Therapist to evaluate the seating needs, in addition to a physician. The documentation generated by the physician and therapist will need to contain three primary pieces of information:

  1. The beneficiary meets Medicare’s coverage criteria for the wheelchair on which the seating will be installed.
  2. The beneficiary’s condition and diagnosis meet Medicare’s criteria for custom seating. Specifically:
    1. For custom backs – there are documented, significant postural asymmetries that are the result of a qualifying diagnosis.
    2. For custom cushions – there is a documented, current pressure ulcer or history of pressure ulcer on the lower back, sacrum, hip or buttock, OR documented absent/impaired sensation in these same areas, OR documented inability to perform a functional weight shift, as the result of a qualifying diagnosis.
  3. A statement clearly explaining why a prefabricated seating system will not sufficiently meet the medical need of the beneficiary. (This piece of information cannot come from the physician alone, it must be in the written therapy evaluation).

Continue reading, go to Part Two!

If you need assistance with documentation review for your Ride Custom Back and/or Cushion order, we can help, and at no cost to you.  Simply contact our Reimbursement Department at (866) 781-1633 x 312.

Precisely formed: Custom Backs

Ride Custom Back forming process

Ever wonder how the Ride Custom Back is made? Check out this video…

Hot, high-grade prosthetic plastic is vacuum-formed to a specific client’s back shape. The shell provides stability and is the outermost layer that hardware will mount to. Once the shell cools, Ride technicians will cut the back out and begin adding the materials necessary for breathability and comfort. It’s just one part of the process involved in delivering the best custom products available to wheelchair seating users.

Why you should come to Colorado for the Ride Custom Certification Course…


This course is designed specifically for clinicians and suppliers who want to take their seating skills to the next level.

We’re often asked if we will have a certification course outside of Denver. While this is an option that is continually being discussed, we believe traveling to Colorado is still the very best option for getting the most out of the Ride Custom Certification Course.

“Most practical, clearly explained and in-depth seating workshop I have participated in, in my nine years in the industry. Love the culture of the company.”

The two-day course will provide you with the best information available on custom seating — course content ranges from dynamic lecture session to hands on workshop sessions.


We stress working as a team to get the best outcome, from clinicians, to ATPs, techs and the clients themselves. Ride takes the same approach to our seating courses — our lineup of presenters and hands-on facilitators are among the best in the industry. We offer our stellar seating experts in presentations from Tom Hetzel, PT, Ride Designs CEO, and in hands-on guidance from founder and president, Joe Bieganek.

Part of what makes the class unique is that you’ll get to interact and work with a significant number of people on the Ride Designs team. You’ll tour the Aspen Seating Clinic and the Ride manufacturing facility for a better understanding of how the product line has evolved, been produced, and tested.

“Excellent opportunity to tour the production facility and now truly appreciate the technology, training and time that goes into the creation of the Ride cushions. Appreciated the review of the evidence to support technology and help bolster my clinical justification.”


The course begins with an in-depth lecture on seating theory. We discuss why Ride’s seating strategy is based on science developed by prosthetists and orthotists. We consider the benefits of pressure and shear, yes, you read that right, benefits of pressure and shear. There’ll be discussions on the research relevant to Ride products. We’ll also discuss early and late seating strategies/interventions, based on different postural tendencies along with handling unique body postures. These sessions will reveal the differences between Ride Designs and the other players in the seating industry.

The orthotic and prosthetic approach to seating is quite different from the philosophy of every other seating company. Our goal is to arm you with the best tools for successful outcomes with custom seating. Every Certification class provides individualized attention and hands-on experience with actual wheelchair users who are dealing with real-life seating challenges.


“Finally, a seating course for experienced clinicians with amazing supportive research, wonderful educators and an abundance of take home knowledge. I’m excited to share with our rehab team!”

You’ll also get to network with a group of cool people from the industry in a relaxed setting. (Did we mention the food?!) You’ll gain CEUs and be certified to work with our custom products… perhaps you can even tack a couple of days onto your trip to spend some time exploring Colorado! Pick a date and plan a trip — registration is open here!

[And yes, the quotes above are actual verbatim comments from attendee evaluations.]

Ride: The (Product) Range

Ride’s concise product range has truly got you covered! No compromise. Our wheelchair cushions and backs help protect skin — plus — provide the stability to help improve posture and mobility.

“Stop the madness of trying to decipher elaborate charts when selecting a wheelchair seating system.”

Check out the new “Ride: The Range” brochure for a quick refresher on our wheelchair seating products, plus criteria for determining when they are most appropriate. (And yep, Colorado really is that pretty — come visit sometime!)

No-charge technical seating support

Need expert, real-time assistance with a challenging wheelchair seating scenario? Consult Ryan Crosby, ATP / SMS, Technical Support Specialist.

Schedule an appointment via the link on the new Technical Support page on the website or directly, here. At your scheduled appointment time, connect with Ryan via phone, Facetime or Skype, and he’ll be there in the clinic with you.

Together, we can find the best solutions to your seating challenges. Try it!