Tenn. Makes CRT a Separate Benefit
Volunteer state’s House and Senate unanimously vote to protect Medicaid patients’ access to specialized wheelchairs and accessories.
- By David Kopf
- Mar 21, 2019
In unanimous votes for each chamber, Tennessee’s House and Senate voted to enact legislation giving complex rehab technology (CRT) wheelchairs separate benefit status under TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
Sent to Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee to be signed into law, H.B. 647 requires the Volunteer State’s Medicaid commissioner to give CRT chairs and related items separate consideration when reimbursement rates or regulatory changes are proposed. Once signed, the law takes effect immediately.
H.B. 647 covers Group 3, Group 4 and Group 5 power wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs with the HCPCS billing codes K0005 and E1161, as well as related options and accessories.
“Thanks to this legislation, the individuals and caregivers who depend on CRT can be assured that any budgetary or reimbursement changes covering these essential products will get the special deliberation they deserve,” noted Bill Mixon, CEO of
The legislation resulted from a 10-month push by various advocates, including state-level CRT stakeholders, national CRT and mobility provider National Seating & Mobility (NSM) and the American Association for Homecare, which engaged Bridge Public Affairs to support the effort and assisted Tennessee stakeholders in their advocacy work.
“The overwhelming, bipartisan support this legislation received in both chambers is a testament to the leadership of the bill’s primary sponsors, Sen. Bo Watson and Rep. Darren Jernigan,” noted NSM CEO Bill Mixon. “We also thank TennCare for their support for this policy change.”
AAHomecare noted in a public statement that it expects to join Tennessee CRT providers to continue working with TennCare to further safeguard CRT access once the state’s legislative session has ended.
Moreover, the effort to protect CRT at the state level won’t stop at Tennessee. AAHomecare plans to partner with providers and patient advocates to advance similar initiatives in other states.
“With a growing number of individuals served by Medicaid programs nationwide, it is increasingly important for the CRT community to work with state legislators and healthcare agencies to ensure sustainable reimbursement rates and sound regulatory policies,” remarked AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan. “We need to make sure that state policymakers everywhere understand that CRT improves quality of life and clinical outcomes for Medicaid patients, while also saving money by reducing costly hospitalizations, as well as lessening the need for nursing home care and other inpatient stays.”
David Kopf is the Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.