CRT Stakeholders Take Their Message to Congress

Wide range of CRT advocates from across the country back legislation to protect CRT on Capitol Hill.

More than 150 complex rehab technology (CRT) stakeholders traveled to Arlington, Va. to attend the 2017 National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference on April 26 and 27 to meet with advocate on behalf of protecting patients’ access to CRT devices and accessories.

Jointly held by the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART) and the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS), the event attendees took in educational opportunities, networked, and engaged members of Congress in Washington, D.C. to explain why CRT access. needed to be protected.

Attendees from 35 states represented all sectors of the CRT community: providers, manufacturers, users, consumer organizations, clinicians, clinical organizations, family and caregivers and researchers. Notably, 35 attendees were CRT wheelchair users.

The April 26 educational day featured a panel presentation from D.C. legislative veterans from the National Health Council and Washington Council Ernst & Young about the issues, options, and politics in Washington regarding healthcare policy. A highlight was the day’s featured presentation form Steve Saling, a nationally recognized champion for accessible residential environments and assistive technology for people with disabilities.

The conference’s dedicated Capitol Hill Day, April 27, resulted in visits to 245 Congressional offices, and NCART reported that “… initial reports are positive and indicate strong Congressional awareness and support for the pending CRT legislation. Advocates will now move to follow-up activities during the upcoming weeks.”

Bearing that in mind, CRT stakeholders that were unable to attend the conference can still email and call their members of Congress using links and information at www.protectmymobility.org.

NCART underscored the urgent need for lawmakers to co-sponsor and pass the Protecting Beneficiary Access to Complex Rehab Technology Act of 2017 (H.R. 1361 and S. 486). In order to stop major July 1 Medicare inappropriately applying Competitive Bidding Program information to generate payment cuts to CRT wheelchair accessories, the legislation must be passed by June 30.

“This type of event has never been more important given all that’s going on in the CRT world,” said Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS. “Particularly the push to get critical legislation passed to stop the major July 1 Medicare cuts to CRT Wheelchair Accessories and to create a Separate Benefit Category for CRT within the Medicare program. We want this National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference to continue to serve as a catalyst for more effective information sharing, collaboration, and advocacy.”

Another legislative objective was to encourage lawmakers to to co-sponsor and pass the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehab Technology Act (H.R. 750), which aims to establish a separate benefit category for CRT within Medicare.

“Thanks to everyone who came to Washington to personally visit their Members of Congress, especially the consumer and clinicians who made the trip,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “We have been making significant progress on moving our CRT legislation ahead in 2015 and 2016 and these Washington activities played a major role. Nothing sends a stronger message then a visit to their D.C. offices and with good follow up we’ll be securing additional cosponsors and get these bills passed.”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

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