S. 1013: Bill for Medicare CRT Benefit Is Reintroduced to U.S. Senate

Complex rehab technology (CRT) for Medicare beneficiaries is another crucial step closer to being officially and distinctively defined and recognized.

On April 20, S. 1013, “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act,” was introduced to the United States Senate by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

S. 1013 is a companion bill to H.R. 1516, introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) in March. Both representatives and both senators introduced very similar bills into their respective houses of Congress during the previous session. The bills expired when the last session of Congress concluded.

In announcing the reintroduction of the Senate bill, NCART Executive Director Don Clayback pointed out that the previous bills enjoyed strong bipartisan support, with 168 House members and 22 senators signing on.

“Over 50 national consumer/clinical organizations have also signed on in support,” Clayback said in a bulletin to stakeholders. “The bill will create a separate benefit category for CRT within the Medicare DME benefit just like the one that exists for orthotics and prosthetics, and provide needed coverage, coding and safeguard improvements focused on the needs of people with disabilities. Problems continue to grow because these specialized CRT items are grouped within Medicare’s ‘standard’ DME category.”

Among recent concerns is an effort by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to apply competitive bidding pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories, despite current federal legislation that excludes complex rehab wheelchairs and accessories from being part of Medicare’s controversial competitive bidding program.

Track the progress of the bills, as well as the wheelchair accessories situation, by visiting 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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