Industry Pushes for Manual CRT Bill Co-Sponsors

As lawmakers head back to Capitol Hill, providers are called on to help secure co-sponsors for House legislation.

Now that lawmakers are returning to Capitol Hill, industry advocates are calling on providers to encourage their members of congress to back legislation that would protect accessories for CRT manual wheelchairs.

As mentioned in an earlier report, Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) were preparing to introduce legislation into the House in September that would protect manual CRT wheelchair accessories from competitive bidding-derived reimbursement.

The bill — the legislative language for which is available at http://bit.ly/2vUDRLW — addresses a problem that inadvertently resulted from accessories for CRT power chairs finally being protected.

Originally, an earlier bill, H.R. 1361, would have prevented CMS from applying bidding-derived reimbursement rates for both power and manual CRT accessories. However, CMS announced at the end of June that it would no longer apply those pricing schemes to power CRT accessories. It did not include manual CRT accessories in that rule. The new legislation would continue the original legislative effort for the remaining, manual CRT accessories.

Now the push is on to get as many co-sponsors as possible. Zeldin and Larson worked during the recess to secure support from members of the House to support the bill. As of Aug. 28, 36 additional lawmakers have agreed to co-sponsor the bill when it is released in September. A list of the Representatives is at http://bit.ly/2wmlb6H.

Industry advocates are calling on providers to support that effort by urging the lawmakers to back the nascent legislation, as they also work to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

“All of my colleagues have been actively working the last two weeks on it,” said Georgie Blackburn, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs for HME provider HME provider BLACKBURN’S, who added her colleagues were currently identifying a champion in the Senate for a bill in that chamber. “I think they’ve got a couple plausible ones, so that we’ll have a ‘one-two punch.’ We’ll have the House bill introduced and soon behind it a companion in the Senate. That’s my hope.”

“We need your Representative to join in the introduction of new legislation to stop the Medicare cuts to CRT manual wheelchair accessories,” stressed Donald Clayback, executive director of the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology. “If your Representative is not on the list [of the 36 current backers], please reach out and ask him/her to sign on by contacting either office.”

Clayback pointed providers to an issue paper to help them in their lobbying efforts, which is available at http://bit.ly/2vVjRbe.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

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