Rehab Stakeholders Join National CRT Awareness Week

The nationwide NCART effort ran Aug. 10 to 14 to spread understanding of what CRT does, who it helps and why it is important. The week culminates in an effort to protect accessories for manual CRT chairs.

More than 65 organizations and thousands of individuals participated in National CRT Awareness Week, from Aug. 10 to 14, which was organized by the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART).

The week’s purpose was to educate policymakers and others about what CRT is, who uses it, how it is provided, and why access to CRT matters. It’s an ongoing mission for the annual event, according to Doug Westerdahl, NCART president.

“Each year, CRT Awareness Week gives our industry a chance to spotlight the numerous professions in the CRT industry,” Westerdahl said. “CRT providers, manufacturers, and clinicians are operating in a very challenging environment when it comes to providing quality CRT equipment and services to people with disabilities who depend on it, and these challenges have been elevated in the COVID-19 environment. This week provided a great opportunity for spreading that message nationally and continuing to build on everyone’s past advocacy work.”

Participants in National CRT Awareness Week included providers, manufacturers, consumers, consumer organizations, clinicians and clinical organizations, family and caregivers.

“We are so pleased to have seen this level of involvement from the CRT community,” said Mickae Lee, NCART Director of Advocacy and Communication. “The number of organizations and individuals participating more than doubled from last year, which shows that this group of advocates has seen how powerful grassroots education and outreach can be and that they’re ready to do the work needed to secure future successes for CRT access.”

Aug. 14 was CRT Advocacy Day, which saw stakeholders focus on calling upon their Representatives in the House to add their signature to a Congressional letter to CMS, urging CMS to not apply bid derive pricing to accessories for manual CRT wheelchairs.

The bipartisan letter is being led by CRT champions Reps. John Larson (D-CT) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY). The letter urges CMS to “make permanent” the temporary policy change that was included in 2019 year-end legislation regarding Medicare payment amounts for CRT Manual Wheelchair accessories.

“Getting as many House Members as we can to sign on to this Congressional letter is especially important. The more signatures, the stronger the message to CMS that they need to take action, just like they did for CRT Power Wheelchairs in 2017,” NCART Executive Director Don Clayback said. “We’re very thankful to the House Members for writing to ensure people with disabilities have equal access and we thank all our advocates for helping to get their member’s signatures as we move through this month.”

Stakeholders and advocates still have until Aug. 31 to contact the lawmakers and urge them to sign. NCART has provided links and information at www.protectmymobility.org.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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