Stakeholders hold on to momentum for accessories

‘We need to make sure we preserve our language’ in two larger bills, says Don Clayback
 - 
Friday, August 30, 2019

WASHINGTON – Stakeholders hope the groundwork they laid during National CRT Awareness Week will pay off when Congress is back in session the week of Sept. 9.

Don Clayback says the industry’s efforts to protect reimbursement for accessories for manual complex rehab wheelchairs got a boost Aug. 19-23 from visits and calls with members of Congress and their staff, support from more than 30 organizations and buzz on social media.

“CRT Week was a good reminder for people to reach back out to their members of Congress,” said Clayback, executive director of NCART. “We hope Congress will come back on the 9th ready to take some action.”

Stakeholders have a number of bills in play to protect accessories for manual complex rehab wheelchairs but before the August recess, the issue was addressed in two larger bills, H.R. 3429 and H.R. 2328. The bills would stop CMS from applying bid-related pricing for these accessories for one year.

A number of provisions in these larger bills have a Sept. 30 deadline, adding a sense of urgency for lawmakers, Clayback says.

“So there has to be some action by the end of September—whether that comes in the form of a bill passing as it currently stands or with modifications,” he said. “We just need to make sure we preserve our language.”

Also in the mix for CRT Week: H.R. 2408, a bill that would create a separate benefit for complex rehab.

Provider Don Whitney did his part in August, when he attended a fundraising BBQ for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. Before the BBQ, Rodgers had already co-sponsored H.R. 2293, a bill that would stop CMS from applying bid-related pricing for accessories for manual complex rehab wheelchairs for 18 months; after, she agreed to also co-sponsor H.R. 2408.

“Within 24 hours of seeing her at the BBQ, I got an email from her saying, ‘This is my aide,’ and then I got an email from the aide saying, ‘She has agreed to co-sponsor,’” said Whitney, COO of Inland Medical Rehab in Spokane, Wash. “It’s just been a great relationship that we’ve been able to sustain over time.”