Crowley to Introduce Separate Benefit House Bill

In a big step forward, NCART has announced that Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) has agreed to "take the Democratic lead" and get a bill introduced in the House that would create a separate benefit category for complex rehab technology (CRT).

At Medtrade last week, NCART Executive Director Don Clayback said, "We have our first commitment from a member of Congress to introduce legislation to create a separate benefit category." Clayback described Crowley as a "12-year member of Congress" who "serves on the key Ways & Means Committee."

Clayback also extended appreciation to Gerry Dickerson, ATP, CRTS, VP of Medstar in College Point, N.Y., for his role in working with Crowley. "Gerry has personally been educating Mr. Crowley on the challenges of providing CRT for many years through hosting a site visit at the business location, regular updates to Mr. Crowley's office, and attending local fundraisers."

Next steps in the process, Clayback said, "include more closely reviewing the draft legislative language, related scoring report and other pertinent information. Input will be sought from the staff of the Ways & Means Committee and from Congress' legislative counsel. We will be working very closely with Mr. Crowley's office on these details as he creates the actual legislative language that will form the text of the bill."

Clayback added work would continue of finding a Republican co-sponsor "so the bill can enjoy bi-partisan introduction."

Multiple organizations - including the American Association for Homecare, the Clinician Task Force, NCART, NRRTS, RESNA and United Spinal - are working on securing a separate benefit category for complex rehab, which would "appropriately distinguish and address the unique needs of individuals with disabilities and medical conditions who require these complex rehab technology products and services," according to a position paper on the subject.

Among the ways that CRT differs from standard durable medical equipment, the position paper says, is that CRT consumers "tend to qualify for Medicare based on their disability and not their age." The provision of CRT also requires an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including a physician, a physical or occupational therapist and a rehab technology professional, and typically involves fitting, sizing and modifications tailored specifically to an individual consumer.

For more information on the separate benefit category, visit ncart.us.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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