AAHomecare, NCART, US Rehab: Keep Pushing to Protect CRT

Various organizations call on stakeholders to sign petition to president, urge their lawmakers to support H.R. 3229.

Various industry organizations are continuing the legislative push to protect accessories for complex rehab technology from reimbursement cuts that would be ushered in by the expansion of competitive bidding.

The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, the American Association for Homecare, and the U.S. Rehab division of VGM Group Inc. called on providers, patients, caregivers and industry stakeholders to sign their names to a petition to President Obama to stop the cuts, and to lobby their lawmakers to support legislation that would protect the complex rehab benefit.

CMS plans to apply competitive bid program pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories on a national basis as part of the competitive bidding expansion effective Jan. 1, 2016. The Affordable Care Act originally mandated the expansion and ensuing CRT cuts, and NCART reports that those cuts will reduce reimbursement for the affected CRT items by 20 percent to 40 percent.

On the legislative front, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) launched H.R. 3229 into the House to prevent CMS from applying competitive bidding-derive pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories. This legislation provides a technical correction to clarify that CMS cannot apply Medicare competitive bidding program pricing information to accessories used with complex rehab wheelchairs.

The organizations encouraged providers to see if their representatives were among H.R. 3229’s 18 current co-sponsors, and if not to contact their lawmakers and urge them to support the legislation. The American Association also noted that providers should check to see if their representative is among the 100 lawmakers that signed an April letter asking CMS for clarification in regards to the expansion plans and CRT, and if so they should remind them of that fact.

NCART has set up a webpage dedicated to the issue at cqrcengage.com/access2crt/HR3229 to give providers background documents they can use in their outreach as needed. The page provides simple email links and telephone numbers for lawmakers, as well as a position paper and other documents.

In terms of Executive outreach, a petition calling for the cuts to be stop has been established on President Obama’s “We the People” site which can be accessed via www.ProtectMyIndependence.com/LearnMore. If the petition collects 100,000 signatures the President must formally respond to the request. At press time, the petition had roughly 7,600 signatures.

“We have a limited window of time to resolve this major access threat and the solution depends on getting the support of Congress and the President,” NCART Executive Director Donald Clayback said in a public statement. “Thanks to those who are engaged in outreach activities already.”

“We need providers, manufacturers, patients and their families, and ordinary citizens who care about health issues to not only sign the petition, but to share it via social media so the general public can help spread the word,” said Greg Packer, president of U.S. Rehab. “We need those signatures by Oct. 23, and the clock is ticking.”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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