Manual accessories: NCART puts new emphasis on access

‘Providers have tried to hold off making changes that will affect access as much as they can, but if relief doesn’t come soon, there are going to be more and more access issues’
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Friday, March 23, 2018

WASHINGTON – Complex rehab stakeholders are taking a slightly different tack now that the manual accessories issue wasn’t included in the recent omnibus bill.

Stakeholders were pushing for H.R. 3730, a bill that would stop competitive bidding-related cuts for accessories for complex manual wheelchairs, to be part of the much larger spending package.

“Unfortunately, it was a big bill, which is why it’s so attractive for (ride-ons), but we didn’t make the cut,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART.

Bid-related pricing for accessories for manual wheelchairs has been in place since Jan. 1, 2016.

Stakeholders now plan to make providers the focal point of their lobbying efforts to restore pricing.

“We want to get some providers to weigh in on some of the issues they’re dealing with related to access,” Clayback said. “They have tried to hold off making changes that will affect access as much as they can, but if relief doesn’t come soon, there are going to be more and more access issues.”

Stakeholders will provide the perfect vehicle for providers to weigh in during the Capitol Hill visits that are part of the National CRT Leadership & Advocacy Conference on April 25-26.

The conference is also the perfect vehicle to increase the number of co-sponsors for H.R. 3730, which, at press time, stood at 88.

“Not that there’s a magic number, but 100 or more has a certain buzz to it,” Clayback said.

Despite the disappointment of the omnibus bill, stakeholders have maintained good momentum for H.R. 3730, most recently with bill sponsors Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn., writing a letter to House leadership encouraging action and consumer groups like the ITEM Coalition also documenting their support.

“We have solid awareness, and it’s just a matter of, what’s the next opportunity for us?” Clayback said.