H.R. 3730 Provisions Added to Lame Duck Medicaid Bill

The effort to protect accessories for manual CRT chairs sees a nail-biting legislative effort at the end of the 115th Congress.

The legislative language of H.R. 3730, a bill that would stop CMS from using competitive bidding-derived reimbursement for accessories used with manual CRT wheelchairs, was added to House Medicaid legislation that is poised for a vote this week.

The Medicaid bill, H.R. 7217, the Improving Medicaid Programs and Opportunities for Eligible Beneficiaries Act (aka, the IMPROVE Act), is part of the legislative activity occurring in the waning days of the 115th Congress, which is slated to fully adjourn by Dec. 14.

The two provisions in the Medicaid legislation salient to manual CRT accessories are:

  • A permanent exemption for CRT manual wheelchair bases from competitive bidding.
  • An 18-month suspension to the application of competitive bidding payment rates for CRT manual wheelchair accessories, just like the CRT power wheelchair accessories. Accessories would go back to being paid at the traditional Medicare rates (in the same way as CRT power wheelchair accessories). The 18-month suspension runs from Jan. 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, and would allow time for the needed discussion to make a permanent policy change.

A vote could come as early as Tuesday. Don Clayback, executive director of The National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology (NCART), as well as representatives of the ITEM Coalition, the American Association for Homecare and VGM Government Relations, urged providers to impress upon lawmakers the need to approve these provisions.

“This is great progress, but it still needs to get passed,” Clayback said. “… The House and Senate must hear from their constituents that this legislation needs to be passed this year. This would be a major win for access to CRT for people with disabilities.”

Providers wishing to support the legislation can go to www.protectmymobility.org for links to contact their members of Congress and ask them to pass H.R. 7217. 

“Please encourage others to send emails and make phone calls too,” Clayback added. “The more voices asking for passage, the better.”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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