NCART: More CRT Bill Co-Sponsors Needed

Association says House, Senate champions need providers to convince more lawmakers to back H.R. 3229, S. 2196.

The industry is entering a critical phase to advance legislation that would protect accessories for complex rehab wheelchairs, and providers must help by urging their lawmakers to add their signatures as co-sponsors to bills in the House and Senate, according to a statement from National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology.

CMS’s current plan for expansion of competitive bidding would apply competitive bidding pricing to as many as 171 wheelchair accessory HCPCS codes on Jan. 1, 2016. Applying the bid rates would result a roughly 45 percent cut in reimbursement for these items, and would significantly harm revenue for rural providers, which would likely be unable to recoup the loss. If those businesses shutter, so to would access for their rehab patients.

The bills provide a technical correction that restricts CMS from applying Medicare competitive bidding program pricing to the accessories used with complex rehab wheelchairs.

There are two bills that need backing: In July, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 3229 into the House to protect CRT from the expansion of competitive bidding. Then in late Oct., Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) introduced a senate companion, S.2196, with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) then added their signatures as original co-sponsors for the legislation. Presently H.R. 3229 has 45 co-sponsors and S.2196 has only 3 co-sponsors.

“Our success rests on CRT stakeholder actions during the next two to three weeks,” NCART Executive Director Donald Clayback explained. “…our Congressional champions are telling us they need more co-sponsors on both bills so they can push for passage. Our bills are in competition with hundreds of others. We need to elevate the urgency of this crisis and the best way to do this is to get more co-sponsors.”

To support H.R. 3229 and S.2196, providers can go to www.protectmymobility.org, which provides links and resources to help them contact their Congress members. The NCART statement reminded providers to follow up with lawmakers and their staff until they finally sign on. The site includes a one page "Call to Action" that providers can download and share with patients, referral partners, and other constituents to help enlist them in supporting the legislation.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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