Manual CRT Bill Launched in Senate

Companion to H.R. 2293 would exclude manual CRT wheelchairs from competitive bidding and suspend bidding-derived pricing on accessories for those chairs for 18 months.

Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have introduced S. 1223, a bill that would permanently exclude manual complex rehabilitative technology (CRT) wheelchairs from the competitive bidding program and will delay Medicare from applying competitive bidding-derived reimbursement rates to accessories for manual CRT wheelchair for 18 months.

The new Senate bill is a companion to H.R. 2293, the Protecting Access to Complex Rehab Manual Wheelchairs Act, which was launched in the House in April by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Lee Zeldin (R.-N.Y.).

Together, the companion bills re-introduce legislative language that originally debuted in 115th Congress, but lapsed when that Congress’s term ended. The bills stem from the CMS’s June 2017 decision to exempt power CRT wheelchairs from competitive bidding, but to continue including manual CRT chairs in competitive bidding

“This violates the intent of past congressional legislation and will create significant access problems for Medicare beneficiaries and other individuals with disabilities,” noted Don Clayback, executive director of the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART). “By applying the flawed reimbursement structure of the Competitive Bidding Program, these reductions will diminish the accessibility of these products, which maximize patient health outcomes and independence.”

Clayback added that the April 30 release of the legislation was perfectly timed with his organization’s National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C., which attracted CRT stakeholders Wednesday and Thursday this week who could advocate on behalf of both pieces of legislation.

Clayback said providers and CRT stakeholders can download an updated position paper, which includes both the Senate and House bill information, and that NCART will update its advocacy web sites to help CRT advocates contact their members of Congress.

Similarly, a statement from the American Association for Homecare called for advocates to reach out to their lawmakers.

“We urge mobility suppliers, manufacturers, and other HME stakeholders to contact their Senators to ask that they co-sponsor this bill to ensure that the experienced, highly-skilled suppliers who provide CRT aren't subjected to unsustainable, bidding-derived pricing for manual CRT wheelchairs and accessories,” the statement read.

The VGM Groups Government Relations team also provides an online tool to helping stakeholders contact their lawmakers to support the legislation.

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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