CRT Legislation Reintroduced in Both Chambers

House and Senate bills aim to protect complex rehab accessories from bid pricing.

Legislation to prevent CMS from applying competitive bidding-based rates to reimbursement for complex rehab accessories has been reintroduced into the House and Senate.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), launched S. 486 into the upper chamber, and Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) introduced the H.R. 1361 companion bill into the House.

Currently, the CURES Act delays the application of competitive bidding-derived pricing reductions for CRT accessories until July 1. The two new bills aim to prevent that application for good.

“CRT providers need a permanent fix that will ensure that they can continue to support individuals with serious disabilities that depend on this specialized equipment,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “If bidding-derived pricing is allowed to slash reimbursement rates, these companies simply can’t provide the level of clinical care associated with CRT products and accessories, including patient evaluation, as well as configuration, fitting, and adjustments for the equipment.”

“After two timely delays, rehab providers are finally at a critical juncture where the ill-conceived proposed cuts to 171 CRT accessory codes can be put to rest,” said Georgie Blackburn, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs for mobility provider BLACKBURN’S. “Plain and simple, MIPPA 2008 [the Medicare Improvements for Providers and Patients Act] exempted CRT power chairs and accessories from the bid program.”

“Without adequate funding, suppliers won’t be able to provide these very specialized products that are essential to allow patients to stay in their homes, which is both their preferred outcome as well the cost-effective place for them to be,” said Jody Wright, president of Rocky Mountain Medical Supply and CRMC member. “I hope that companies in the CRT space will reach out to their Senators and Representative and ask for their support for this much-needed legislation.”

To jumpstart those advocacy efforts, the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology called on CRT providers to join its CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference, which will be hosted in the Washington, D.C. area on April 26 and 27.

The conference, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., will provide regulatory and legislative updates, networking opportunities, and will organize providers’ Capitol Hill appointments with their members of Congress. Attendees of the conference will visit members of Congress to push for passage of not only S. 486 and H.R. 1361, but legislation to make CRT an entirely separate benefit.

“The clock is ticking,” said NCART Executive Director Donald Clayback. “The delay in Medicare payment cuts to CRT Wheelchair accessories expires on June 30 and we need a permanent fix.  We have no time to waste and your presence will make a difference!”

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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