New Mobility, October 28, 2022
As a manual wheelchair user himself, Colorado state Rep. David Ortiz knows how critical timely repairs can be when your wheelchair isn’t working. Something as simple as a missing bolt can be the difference between independence and bed rest, yet those simple solutions can take days, weeks — even months — to secure because of insurance and provider complications.
“I don’t need pre-approval for every stupid little repair I need on my chair,” says Ortiz, the first wheelchair-using member of the Colorado General Assembly in that legislative body’s 146-year history. “We know that I have my chair, we know that it’s a critical piece of mobility device, and it needs to be repaired as quickly as possible.”
In hopes of making that possible, Ortiz was one of the prime sponsors of the Consumer Right to Repair Powered Wheelchairs, the first Right to Repair law focused on power wheelchairs in the nation. The law allows wheelchair users access to parts, software and manuals so they can repair their own power wheelchairs. Under the law, power wheelchair manufacturers could be cited for an unfair trade practice if they refuse to allow access to parts and manuals.
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