Stakeholders Renew CRT Separate Benefit Campaign

Complex rehab technology (CRT) stakeholders are once again mobilizing support for creating a separate Medicare benefit category for CRT.

Last year's House bill, H.R. 4378, was introduced by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and had 39 co-sponsors when it expired at the end of 2012. With a new Congress in session, industry members are seeking to get a new bill introduced and supported by as many members of Congress as possible.

In a recap sent to industry members, Don Clayback, executive director of the National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology (NCART), pointed out that last year's bill received support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Of the co-sponsors who signed on to H.R. 4378, Clayback noted, "This solid bipartisan group included 30 Democrats and 9 Republicans. The quality of these members is impressive. We have strong representation from the key committees that oversee the Medicare program in that eight are members of the House Ways and Means Committee, and five are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"In addition, the co-sponsor list includes the Republican and Democrat co-chairs of the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, along with eight of its members."

Of the 39 co-sponsors, Clayback added, 38 were re-elected in November. He called that group "a solid foundation to build on as we move into 2013."

Major Goals for 2013

Clayback told industry members in his letter that he expected a new separate benefit category bill to be introduced in the house soon. "Once that happens, we'll contact our 2012 co-sponsors to have them re-sign onto the new bill and then recommence the pursuit of additional new co-sponsors," Clayback said.

The Separate Benefit Category Steering Committee, which met in December to lay out their plans for the new year, is also focusing on introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

Clayback said other "key benchmarks along the legislative roadway" included a Capitol Hill briefing by the House Bipartisan Disability Caucus; securing the input and support of Congressional Committee staffers; and obtaining a financial score from the Congressional Budget Office.

The eventual hope is that the separate benefit bill would be attached to a larger healthcare bill that would be passed and signed into law by the President Obama.

Clayback urged supporters to use the resources at access2crt.org to educate members of Congress and gain their support. He also suggested inviting members of Congress to view the importance of complex rehab technology first-hand: "In the quest to educate members of Congress on CRT, there is nothing more powerful than having a member visit your location to see your operation and meet your customers."

Separate benefit category legislation will be a focus at a number of events this year, including the NCART/NRRTS CRT Leadership & Advocacy Conference in April.

About the Author

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

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