House passes bill with accessories language

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives this afternoon handily passed a bill with language that requires CMS to stop applying competitive bidding pricing to accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs for 18 months, starting Jan. 1, 2019.

H.R. 7217, which passed 400-11, also has language creating a permanent exemption from the competitive bidding program for complex rehab manual wheelchair bases. CMS hasn’t included these bases in the program or applied pricing from the program to them, but this would make that official.

“Many thanks to Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn., for all of their dedicated work in getting these important CRT provisions included in this year-end legislation,” NCART stated in a bulletin to members. “Thanks also go to the Energy & Commerce Committee, Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-N.J., for their help.”

The bill, which focuses on improvements to the Medicaid program, now moves to the Senate for consideration under what’s called the “hotline” process, according to AAHomecare. Under that process, if no members of the Senate place a hold on the bill within 24 hours of distribution, it passes.

If a hold (or multiple holds) are placed on the bill, the legislation’s proponents will work to see if they can determine who is placing the hold and attempt to convince them to remove it. Once all holds are removed, the bill passes, according to the association.

“As the bill goes to the Senate, we will be working with our CRT champions Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to continue the momentum and secure passage,” NCART stated. “This is the final stage to protect access to this needed equipment.”

These latest developments come after years of hard work that began to pay off in December of 2015, when industry champions were able to stave off bid pricing for accessories for complex rehab power wheelchairs for a year. They were able to do that again in December 2016 for another six months.

CMS then decided not to apply the pricing for accessories for complex power wheelchairs starting July 1, 2017. Bid pricing for complex rehab manual wheelchairs, however, has been in place since Jan. 1, 2016.