ITEM Coalition Sends H.R. 3730 Letter to Congress

The ITEM (Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid) Coalition has sent a letter to the U.S. House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce committees to ask for support for H.R. 3730.

The letter, dated Sept. 21, asked committee members to support the bill that would permanently exclude complex rehab technology (CRT) manual wheelchair accessories from Medicare’s controversial competitive bidding program.

“This important legislation,” the letter said, “will protect Medicare beneficiary access to manual complex rehab technology, as well as essential components known as wheelchair ‘accessories.’”

The letter also pointed out that while pricing for CRT power wheelchair accessories cannot be based on competitive bidding prices, the policy announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) did not extend to CRT manual wheelchair accessories.

For that reason, the ITEM Coalition, along with various members and organizations in the CRT industry, are seeking a legislative solution to protect consumer access to those manual wheelchair accessories.

“Congressional action is urgently needed to permanently help Medicare beneficiaries who are manual CRT wheelchair users obtain medically necessary CRT accessories and components,” the letter said. “The decision to not make the same policy change to manual wheelchairs has led to a disparity in access. This disparity adversely impacts Medicare beneficiaries by unfairly penalizing manual wheelchair users by limiting their access to needed wheelchair accessories and components. The impact of this decision is playing out in real time.

“Data from a recent survey of over 400 Medicare supplier locations1 shows that nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated the reimbursement cuts to manual CRT wheelchair accessories have ‘significantly reduced our ability to provide the right wheelchair accessories to Medicare beneficiaries who require complex rehab manual wheelchairs.’ A decrease in access to manual CRT wheelchair accessories would be detrimental to many wheelchair users that rely on Medicare to provide these essential components.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) introduced H.R. 3730.

ITEM Coalition steering committee members include the American Foundation for the Blind, the Amputee Coalition, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and United Spinal Association.

To read the entire letter, 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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