VIDEO: Wheelchair Accessories Legislation Picks Up Steam

Rep. Zeldin (R-NY), other speakers tout H.R.3229 at press conference.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who introduced the H.R.3229 legislation to protect complex rehab accessories into the House, was joined by various complex rehab stakeholders at a press conference in which he labeled the bill "must pass" legislation to protect access for people with disabilities.

“Providing support for those who need it the most has been a principle Americans have stood by for generations,” Zeldin said. “There is an urgent need for Congress to act now to ensure that Americans living with disabilities can access the complex rehabilitative equipment they require to meet their medical needs and to function at the highest level possible, allowing them to live  independently and happily.”

Watch the full press conference:

Held at The Children's Center at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Long Island, a school for students with developmental disabilities, the press conference was a call for Congress to pass H.R.3229 and its Senate companion S.2196 this year. Additional CRT stakeholders included Stephen Friedman, president and CEO of UCP of Long Island; Rolf Walter, a 50-year client of UCP who uses a CRT power wheelchair; and Linda Bollinger-Lunger, a physical therapist with Long Island Select Healthcare, who has been delivery CRT seating and mobility for 17 years.

Attendance to the event was good, according to a statement from the The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART). Rep. Zeldin was also joined by local elected officials, staff of UCP of Long Island, residents from UCP of Long Island's 31 homes, advocates for individuals with disabilities, and members of the community.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) sent a supporting letter signed by 26 national organizations to Congress on August 18th. The ITEM Coalition followed up with a similar letter signed by 37 national organizations on Aug. 25. Both letters can be found and downloaded here.   

“We sincerely thank Representative Zeldin and the members of the CCD and the ITEM Coalition for their continued leadership and support,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “These positive developments come at an excellent time and let Congress know this legislation must be passed this year.”

Clayback suggested provider advocates share documents and information as part of their follow-up efforts after contact their Representative and Senators. The press conference, as well as the efforts to reach out to lawmakers are part of a pre-September push to ensure Congress acts on the legislation when it returns to Capitol Hill from its summer recess on Sept. 6. Providers can visit www.access2crt.org to see if their lawmakers have signed on, and to get outreach resources as needed.

“We need all three of your members signed on as co-sponsors to build on this momentum,” Clayback reminded.

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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