NCART: Schumer to Introduce Senate Bill for Separate Benefit Category

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will introduce a Senate companion bill to provide a separate Medicare benefit category for complex rehab technology (CRT), according to a news announcement this week from NCART Executive Director Don Clayback.

H.R. 942, the House bill that would establish such a benefit category, was co-introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) last month. The bill is titled the “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2013.”

Clayback said in his announcement that the Senate bill was expected to be introduced within the next two weeks. Senators or staff interested in joining Schumer or who had questions about the upcoming bill were encouraged to contact Schumer’s Senior Legislative Assistant Meghan Taira at (202) 224-6542, or Meghan_taira@schumer.senate.gov.

News of the bill was announced during last week’s National CRT Leadership & Advocacy Conference, presented by NCART and NRRTS in Washington, D.C. Clayback reported that more than 170 attendees – CRT providers, manufacturers, clinicians and consumers – attended the three-day event.

“We had a very productive time last week in Washington, D.C.,” Clayback said in a message to NCART members and industry stakeholders. “The focus was on education, advocacy and networking. Based on attendee feedback, it’s safe to say people walked away with helpful business information and a renewed sense of commitment and focus. And most importantly, we made major progress in delivering the H.R. 942 separate benefit category message to Congress thanks to the largest number of Congressional visits ever.”

Clayback said event attendees made more than 225 visits to Congressional offices to discuss the bill.

“The initial reports from attendees are positive,” Clayback said. “There was an increased awareness of CRT, and it looks like we will have some new co-sponsors, in addition to last year’s 38 House members, signing on to H.R. 942 right out of the gate.”

Conference attendees also delivered updated H.R. 942 information packets that included a “Dear Colleague” letter from Crowley and Sensenbrenner, a bill summary, and a pictorial that illustrated the differences between complex and standard manual and power wheelchairs.

The packet also lists the names of 40 organizations, ranging from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to Paralyzed Veterans of America, that support H.R. 942.

About the Author

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

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