CRT stakeholders line up strategy

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Friday, February 16, 2018

WASHINGTON – NCART and NRRTS have three, ideally two, legislative asks for their National CRT Leadership & Advocacy Conference, April 25-26.

Finish the job

The first, and there’s a possibility that this will be taken care of before the event takes place: stop competitive bidding-related pricing for accessories for complex manual wheelchairs. Stakeholders plan to use the Capitol Hill visits on April 26 to push H.R. 3730, which had 84 co-sponsors at press time, possibly as part of larger legislation.

“We’ve gotten almost 30 more co-sponsors in 30 days and we’ve gotten some encouraging comments about that,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, in mid-January. “Congress has bills to pass, so there are opportunities.”

Stakeholders have previously succeeded in getting CMS to back off on the cuts for accessories for complex power wheelchairs.

Back seat no more?

If the more immediate accessory issue is taken care of before the event, efforts to create a separate benefit for complex rehab, a long-standing goal, will take center stage. Stakeholders plan to use the visits to increase support for H.R. 750, which had 98 co-sponsors at press time. Clayback also says a companion bill in the Senate should be introduced in time for the event.

“The separate benefit had to take a back seat, but now that we have the majority of the accessory issues finished, we’re gearing up for a big push on the separate benefit,” he said.

Not a Cure at all

Finally, stakeholders plan to use the visits to express concerns with a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act that requires CMS to limit the federal contribution to Medicaid payments to bid-influenced Medicare payments. The change affects 37 complex rehab codes, Clayback says.

“There are fewer and fewer companies that are providing complex rehab and any reduction in reimbursement will create serious access consequences,” he said.

The opportunity is real

Clayback knows that time and money are tight, but the advocacy work that takes place during the event really makes a difference, he says.

“When you look back at last year, when we got a fix for accessories for complex power wheelchairs in June, being in Washington, D.C., in the spring was a good thing,” he said. “It had significant influence.”