Manual CRT Letter Garners 41 Backers

The letter calling on CMS to not apply competitive bidding rates to manual CRT accessories reimbursement has gone to the agency, while NCART continues advocating on the issue.

A total of 41 House lawmakers signed a Congressional sign-on letter calling on CMS to permanently stop applying competitive bidding rates to reimbursement for accessories for manual CRT wheelchairs, according to the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART).

“It was a strong bipartisan with 26 Republicans and 15 Democrats,” noted NCART Executive Director Don Clayback, who added that his organization isn’t losing time waiting for CMS to process receipt of the letter. “… We will continue the advocacy for a fix.”

To that end, NCART will share the letter with Congressional Committee staff that have been part of the organization’s legislative efforts, and will also contact CMS staff to see if they need any additional information.”

A Key CRT Issue

Introduced by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), the letter aims to convince CMS to reverse what are likely be considerable reimbursement cuts for manual CRT accessories as early as the implementation of Round 2021.

Stopping the application of bid derived pricing to those items would create policy consistency given that CMS already removed power CRT chairs from competitive bidding, and pricing for their accessories is not based on competitive bidding rates.

The 2008 Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) exempted CRT wheelchairs from the competitive bidding program. However, in 2016, CMS moved to use competitive bidding rates to reduce reimbursement for the accessories for CRT chairs. Congress and stakeholders worked to convince CMS to modify its policy in 2017, but CMS only stopped applying bidding-derived pricing to reimbursement for power CRT chair accessories; it maintained the policy for manual CRT chair accessories. 

Dedicated Effort

Clayback underscored the effort behind obtaining the signatures given that Congress was on recess for August, COVID-19 added complication, and the wide range of national issues vying for Congressmembers’ attention. Not surprisingly, the effort to collect signatures went right up to the Sept. 18 deadline.

“We thank Congressmen Zeldin and Larson for leading this letter on behalf of access for people with disabilities and thank the other 39 Representatives who signed on,” Clayback said. “We also thank everyone in the CRT community who worked hard to get their Representative to sign the letter.”

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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