NCART: GAO Report Confirms Need for CRT Wheelchair Accessory Legislation

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reaffirms the need to stop the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from applying competitive bidding-derived pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories.

That’s the perspective of NCART, who on June 3 released extensive comments on the GAO report, “Medicare: Utilization and Expenditures for Complex Wheelchair Accessories,” presented to Congress.

The GAO’s findings were released June 1. The report supported the need for H.R. 3229 and S. 2196, bills that would prevent CMS from affixing flawed competitive bidding reimbursement amounts to accessories used on highly complex wheelchairs that are drastically different from standard wheelchairs, said NCART’s Executive Director Don Clayback, in a June 3 bulletin to stakeholders.

NCART said the report concluded that the complex rehab technology (CRT) segment includes both manual and power wheelchair models, and that those wheelchairs and the accessories on them are used by people with severe and complex disabilities.

The report also found that the accessories in question “are important to ensure the CRT wheelchair can be individually configured to meet the specific needs of a person with a disability,” NCART said.

And the GAO noted that legislation passed in 2008 specifically excluded CRT power wheelchairs and accessories from Medicare’s highly controversial competitive bidding program.

“Most importantly,” Clayback said, “the report identifies the significant payment cuts that will result should CMS inappropriately apply competitive bidding program pricing information to CRT wheelchair accessories.”

He noted that the report confirmed information that the industry and its stakeholders had supplied to Congress.

“This GAO report is good news and enables our push for passage of our CRT legislation to move forward,” Clayback added. “Our CRT legislative group is currently reviewing the report and legislative impact with our Congressional champions to determine next steps.”

NCART members will be taking their CRT message to Capitol Hill personally as part of a combined July conference with RESNA and NRRTS. To register for the event, click HERE.

About the Author

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

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