Monthly Archives: December 2014

Healthy New Year

Make 2015 your healthiest year yet by committing to one or more of these healthy resolutions.

Make 2015 your healthiest year yet by committing to one or more of these healthy resolutions.

The holidays are over and everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. This is a great time to start fresh and commit to making healthy decisions. According to research by the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people who make a resolution actually keep them for the entire year. If you are still trying to think of a healthy resolution, we can help! The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology believes that you can be one of those 8 percent and create healthy habits that stick all year long.

  1. Exercise regularly – Strength training, wheelchair yoga, and sports are great ways to stay fit and healthy. Not only does exercise tone your muscles, it also keeps your mind sharp and energy up!
  2. Kick bad habits – There are so many bad habits out there! Some of the main ones are smoking, drinking too much, excessive caffeine consumption, and improper use of both prescription and illegal drugs. There are different treatment options for each that can give you the support you need to make a positive change.
  3. Drink more water – Drink approximately eight glasses of water each day. Carbonated drinks don’t count! The amount of water that you drink should be determined by activity, humidity and age. We tend to drink less water in the winter but the air’s lower humidity can increase our risk for dehydration.
  4. Keep up with physicals – An annual physical is necessary for both you and your doctor to evaluate your overall health, go over medications, and prescribe any changes or tests. Preventative maintenance is just as important as treating a pre-existing condition.
  5. Keep up with CRT issues– Complex Rehab Technology products and services are needed by many individuals with significant disabilities and chronic medical conditions. The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology is dedicated to making sure that these individuals have access to the appropriate support they need. If you would like to get involved in helping us gain both federal and state support, check out our website.

Choose your goal for 2015, and stick with it! The start to a new year is the perfect time to have a fresh start and develop healthier habits. We believe in you!

2014 Year-End CRT Legislation Report

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2014 Year-End CRT Legislation Report

December 22, 2014

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

Last week Congress ended their 113th Session and will be reconvening on January 6th for their 114th Session. We wanted to provide a year-end federal legislative recap and outline the plans for 2015.

While we did not get our CRT bill passed this session, we have established an excellent foundation to move it over the finish line next year. We end the year with 168 Representatives signed on to HR-942 and 22 Senators signed on to S-948. That’s 190 Members of Congress supporting CRT legislation! The list of co-sponsors by state is available at

This progress is a direct result of a wide cross section of CRT stakeholders taking the time to reach out to their Members and staff through emails, phone calls, social media, and in-person meetings. We know it is not easy to do this outreach with all the other demands on people’s time. But we have proven that commitment and persistency pays off. Our progress is also attributable to the broad support from over 50 national consumer and clinical groups that have formally gone on record supporting passage of the legislation. We are very grateful for this.

While we achieved very good quantity in terms of co-sponsors, we also have great quality. Our co-sponsors provide solid bi-partisan support with 103 Democrats and 65 Republicans on board in the House and 16 Democrats and 6 Republicans on board in the Senate. We also achieved great Member representation on the key committees that have jurisdiction over the Medicare program: 22 House Ways & Means Committee Members; 17 House Energy & Commerce Committee Members; 5 Senate Finance Committee Members; and 4 Senate HELP Committee Members. Importantly, all but 4 of these Committee Members were re-elected.

Our progress is significant and we need to recognize that. Everyone’s hard work is paying off and the CRT message is spreading. However our main objective remains to get the bill passed. Passage is critical to protect access to CRT for people with disabilities who rely on this specialized equipment and the related supporting services. And the need for this legislation is increasing as the access challenges on the federal and state levels continue to grow.

As we look to 2015 we have a great base to start from. The first quarter of the year will be a very busy time for Congress. They will be completing the “reorganization” necessitated by the November elections and beginning their legislative agenda. On the legislative side they must take up a bill to delay/repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) methodology prior to March 31st. That will be the first opportunity to get our CRT bill attached to larger Medicare legislation. There also should be other opportunities as we move through the year.

In terms of our 2015 plan, here are the actions that we will be focused on to get our CRT bill passed:
1. Update the legislation language to address Medicare changes/events of the past 2 years that compromise CRT access.
2. Reintroduce the bill in the House and Senate. This will result in new bill numbers being assigned. Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) have agreed to again be our leads in the new session. We are extremely appreciative of their continued support.
3. Reach out to the 2014 co-sponsors to get them to re-sign on to the new bill (including co-sponsor offices where Members retired or were not re-elected) and seek new co-sponsors.
4. Secure support and sign-off from key committee Members and committee staff.
5. Obtain a favorable CBO score.
6. Get the CRT bill attached to larger piece of Medicare legislation and passed.

One final 2014 note. For those who have time for one more year-end task, take a few minutes and send short emails to your Members’ offices who have signed on (see the co-sponsor list referenced above). Thank them for their support this year, wish them Happy Holidays, and let them know you will be contacting them in January as soon as the CRT bill is reintroduced. Hearing from you now will help build your relationship with them as we move ahead.

Remember to use for your CRT legislation needs…..access documents, tools, Congressional contacts, and other resources.

CRT awareness and advocacy grew significantly in 2014 and we need to continue our work in 2015. More details will be provided as we move in to January, including your new federal marching orders.

Thanks again to everyone for all your past (and future) hard work and Happy Holidays to you and your families!


Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754 |

Winter Safety for You and Your Wheelchair

The winter weather can be hard on both you and your wheelchair. Take some steps to protect both of you.

The winter weather can be hard on both you and your wheelchair. Take some steps to protect both of you.

Winter weather can definitely cramp your usually mobile style. Ice and snow become obstacles on roads and sidewalks and the cold air is hard on your skin. It’s important for individuals to be aware of the potential dangers colder weather may bring. That is why the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology has put together some safety tips to keep both you and your wheelchair safe this winter.

For your wheelchair:

Unfortunately, wheelchairs don’t typically come with a four-wheel drive option. But there are a few add-ons you can use to make your wheelchair more all-terrain.

Tires: There are many different options available to you. All-weather tires can make a huge difference in whether you can get where you need to go.

Wheelchair clothing: Waterproof ponchos that are large enough to cover both you and your chair are available. Some even have hoods to keep your head warm and dry! This will protect you from wet and cold and your chair from becoming damaged or worn due to weather.

For you:

There are so many ways you can take care of yourself during the wet winter months. Taking care of you first and foremost will make these days much more pleasant. Here are a few ideas for things to carry with you to keep you mobile and comfortable.

Hand and foot warmers: These are especially important if you have reduced feeling in your extremities. Warming boots and mitten or shoe inserts keep you cozy and warm.

Rock salt: Keep a small bag with you at all times in case you need to help de-ice slippery sidewalks as you go.

Skin protection: The sensitive skin on your lips and cheeks are especially vulnerable to the cold air. Keep a travel size tube of skin protectant on hand to show your skin some love.

Keep an emergency kit: Keep essentials like a blanket, bottled water, cell phone charge, and a fully-charged battery for your mobility device in a small emergency kit in case an emergency pops up.

The National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology works to give individuals with disabilities the products and support they need to live an active and mobile life. We don’t want you to lose any of your independence this winter due to harsh weather conditions. If you are going to brave the cold weather, make sure you are prepared and stay safe.