Monthly Archives: February 2016

Who uses CRT wheelchairs? A closer look, Part 2


In last week’s blog, we talked about some of the diseases, conditions and life circumstances that can lead to a person needing the use of a CRT wheelchair. For today’s blog, we will continue to talk about some of these conditions, and what you can do to help make sure they get the coverage they need!


Also known as Lou Gehrig’s, this disease received attention a few years ago when people performed the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise money for research for a cure. Physicist Stephen Hawking, who also lives with this disease, has been portrayed widely in popular media. But the truth is, this disease is sinister, leading to a total breakdown of all muscle function. In the end, those living with it are unable to swallow food, and eventually, unable to breathe. Many depend on CRT wheelchairs to give them relief from the effects of the disease and a better quality of life.

Muscular Dystrophy

Many people are familiar with this disease because of the green shamrocks that appear in retail windows every year during the MDA’s annual fundraising. But muscular dystrophy itself wreaks terrible havoc on the lives of young children, weakening their muscles until they are no longer able to stand or walk. Some even have issues swallowing or breathing. Those suffering from MD often rely on CRT wheelchairs for daily life.

Cerebral Palsy

This condition develops as a result of abnormal brain development before birth. Those who live with cerebral palsy can have varying degrees of symptoms, but some require a CRT wheelchair in order to achieve mobility. They also may have trouble speaking or swallowing, due to motor impairments. Many became familiar with this disease because of actor RJ Mitte, who played Flynn on the show Breaking Bad. Both Mitte and the character he portrayed have a mild form of cerebral palsy.

What can you do?

You can contact your representatives in Congress and let them know how necessary CRT wheelchair accessories are—and to overturn CMS’s interpretation of the new Medicare guidelines. Tell them there needs to be a permanent solution in place to protect the independence of those who need is most. And, you can become a member of NCART. Our members help support the work that we do. Learn more about becoming a member here.

Who uses CRT wheelchairs? A closer look, Part 1


They’re veterans, accident survivors and those living with extended illnesses. They’re your neighbor, community member or maybe even friend or family member. They all have one thing in common: they use CRT wheelchairs.

At the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, we fight to stop Medicare cuts to these medically-necessary devices. For today’s blog, we’re going to look at the different types of people who use complex rehabilitation technology:

Those living with Multiple Sclerosis

This disease occurs when the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers, resulting in a breakdown of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The symptoms for some individuals living with multiple sclerosis can be severe, and many rely on daily caretakers. Were it not for their wheelchairs, they would lose to ability to perform many daily tasks and functions, relying completely on the actions of others for almost everything.


A bullet that shatters a spine, a roadside bomb that leaves head injuries, a firefight that destroys limbs… the number of different injuries a soldier can return with are numerous. It’s estimated that between the years 2002 to 2012, approximately 253,330 soldiers returned home with traumatic brain injuries. Some of those veterans need CRT wheelchairs as a result of those head injuries. In the Iraq War alone, close to 1,000 soldiers lost limbs during the fight.

Accident Survivors

Most people are familiar with Christopher Reeve, the actor who played in many Superman movies. He required the use of a CRT wheelchair after he was thrown from a horse and injured. He later became an advocate for those with disabilities. Many people are injured in similar ways every day, most notably during automobile accidents, and also require the use of CRT wheelchair as a result.


There are numerous other conditions that can lead to someone needing a CRT wheelchair. The accessories that may be cut from Medicare coverage include things such as controls and custom seating. Without controls, many wheelchair users would not be able to get around, and without custom seating, many would deal with sores and pain in their backs.

2016 CRT Legislation Webinar- February 9th at 4:00 PM ET

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This will be a very important year for Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) legislation. You are invited to attend a webinar on Tuesday February 9th at 4:00 PM ET to hear about what lies ahead and the needed advocacy actions.

NCART Executive Director Don Clayback will review the federal legislative issues in play and detail how CRT stakeholders can help secure permanent solutions in 2016 to protect access to CRT. Available advocacy tools will also be discussed.

This free webinar is open to all CRT stakeholders, so please pass this invitation along to all who would be interested. Advance registration is required and can be completed here.