CRT Stakeholders and Friends,
July starts with a big week for our country as we celebrate Independence Day. It’s also a very important month as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26th. Let’s make it a big month for CRT advocacy!
Progress continues toward passage of the “Ensuring Access To Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act” (HR-1516/S-1013). As we leave the month of June we are up to 117 Members signed on in the House (49 Republicans/68 Democrats) and 10 Members in the Senate (5 Republicans/5 Democrats). You can view the current list at www.access2crt.org to see if your Representative and 2 Senators are on board.
Our biggest need continues to be to add more co-sponsors. That’s where your help is needed. The good news is we can get quick additions by just focusing on the 68 Members (56 House and 12 Senate) from last year who have not yet re-signed. See the list of co-sponsors by state to see if your Member is one of them. Since there were only a few minor changes to the 2015 bill as compared to 2014, the only reason these 68 Members have not re-signed yet is because we have not done enough follow up. Please find the minutes it takes to send the email and get these offices back on board.
We know everyone is busy, but we really need you to contact your Members over the month of July. We have seen time and time again that your personal outreach and persistence will pay off. You can use the tools at www.access2crt.org to make those calls and send those emails to get your Members signed on. Your efforts will produce results.
Medicare CB Pricing to CRT Wheelchair Accessories
It is extremely disappointing that CMS has said NO to Congress’ formal request (a 101 signature bipartisan letter) that CMS rescind plans to inappropriately apply competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab wheelchair accessories beginning 2016. This violates the intent of 2008 federal legislation (MIPPA) and subsequent CMS policy that excluded individually configured Complex Rehab wheelchairs and accessories from competitive bidding. This inappropriate application would eliminate access as payment rates would drop 20% to 50% and the negative impact would extend well beyond Medicare beneficiaries to also hurt people with disabilities in Medicaid and private insurance programs.
Given CMS’ refusal, Congress now needs to legislate a technical correction to clarify that CMS cannot apply competitive bid pricing to accessories used with Complex Rehab power and manual wheelchairs to prevent CMS’ application of these payment reductions scheduled for January 1, 2016. An NCART Position Paper is being used to educate Members of Congress and others on this issue.
Congressional CRT Exposition
To enhance the CRT educational process in Congress we are holding a “Congressional CRT Exposition” on Capitol Hill on Monday July 20th. The exposition is being hosted in conjunction with United Spinal Association, National MS Society, and NCART in coordination with our legislative champions Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner and Joe Crowley. The event will feature hands-on displays of CRT manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, seating and positioning products, and other equipment highlighting how CRT is different from DME. Consumers, clinicians, providers, manufacturers, and other advocates will be in attendance to provide demonstrations and answer questions.
This will be a great opportunity to further demonstrate what CRT is all about. We will be able to communicate in person what the technology looks like, who uses it, the benefits it provides, how it is configured to meet a person’s individual needs, and other important parts of the CRT message. We are preparing a “CRT Expo Invitation” that CRT stakeholders will be able to email to the offices of their Members to get them to stop in for a visit. You can use that as the tool to let your Members know of the event and encourage their attendance. You’ll have the invite to share next week.
National CRT Awareness Week
Our annual National CRT Awareness Week has been scheduled for August 17th to 21st. The focus is on Members of Congress who are back in their home districts for the August recess. It’s a great time for CRT stakeholders to connect with their representatives on a local level and secure additional support for our CRT issues. Start making plans to connect with your Members now. If you can’t connect that week, make the contact sometime during the month. You don’t need to fly to Washington to have an impact! Additional tools and suggestions to follow.
Thanks for your continued advocacy work on the CRT front. Have an enjoyable holiday weekend and please remember the dedicated military men, women, and families who make (and have made) sacrifices for our values, independence and quality of life.
Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ncart.us