H.R. 942 and S. 948: Legislation for the Mobility Industry
One of the key legislative agenda items for mobility providers is to protect complex rehab from a cut-crazy CMS. H.R. 942, and its Senate companion bill, S. 948, would create a separate benefit in the Medicare program for complex rehab technology (CRT). CRT is generally defined as specialized wheelchairs, seating and positioning systems, and other adaptive equipment used by people with significant disabilities and chronic medical conditions. A separate benefit would have targeted coverage and payment policies that address the unique issues of this specialized equipment and ensure better access to CRT items and services.
“Both the House and the Senate bills were introduced earlier this year, and have steadily gained support in both chambers,” says Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of Government Relations for Invacare. “At this time, the House bill has 75 co-sponsors, and the Senate bill has five. We need to get more Representatives and Senators signed on to their respective measure. Providers should reach out to their respective Senators and Representatives and ask them to sign on as a sponsor. The web site, www.access2CRT.org, has detailed information on the initiative, as well as information to help communicate why legislators should support these important bills.”
Witter reiterates Bachenheimer’s plea for provider support, saying the best thing that providers can do is to ask their members of congress to support the legislation by cosponsoring it.
Baxter says that the bill is important because “complex rehab is the future of rehab with pediatrics.”
Georgie Blackburn, vice president of Government Relations and Legislative Affairs for provider BLACKBURN’s, says her company is working to make H.R 942 a reality. Their representative, Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.), has just signed on after he was invited to a site visit at BLACKBURN’s facility. The company also has site visits planned with their satellite locations and feel confident that will materialize in support.
“With the Medicare demographic mushrooming and technological advances for treatment of serious illnesses and traumatic injuries improving, it is imperative that Congress insures access to complex rehab technology mobility products for years to come through the adoption of H.R. 942,” Blackburn explains. “Providing independence and functional mobility for our disabled and aging population is humane, as well as medically necessary and should be protected through Congressional action.”
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of HME Business.