Providers Urged to Help Drive CRT Legislation

House and Senate bills to protect CRT accessories from competitive bidding need more co-sponsors.

Legislation that would protect accessories for complex rehab wheelchairs from CMS’s Jan. 1, 2016 national expansion of competitive bidding need more co-sponsors and providers are being urged to call on their lawmakers to support the bills.

The two bills are H.R. 3229, introduced into the House In July by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and S.2196, launched in the Senate in late October by Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

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

Currently, H.R. 3229 has 49 co-sponsors and S.2196 has five co-sponsors. More are needed on both bills in order for them to help generate momentum to the legislation.

A statement from the American Association for Homecare suggested providers leverage previous advocacy work to help drive new signatures.

“In April of this year, 100 members of the House of Representatives signed on to a letter to CMS asking for clarification of the Agency’s plans for complex rehab accessories,” the statement read. “If your Representative is one of those individuals who signed onto that letter, you might want to follow up with a phone call to the legislative assistant handling healthcare related issues for that office to remind them of their earlier interest in the issue.”

CMS’s competitive bidding expansion plan would apply competitive bidding pricing to as many as 171 wheelchair accessory HCPCS codes on Jan. 1, 2016. Applying the bid rates would result in am approximately 45 percent cut in reimbursement for these items. This would harm revenue for rural providers, which would not have the ability to make up the revenue in other ways. This would jeopardize their businesses, and thusly rural rehab patients access to the right equipment.

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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