CRT Manual Wheelchair Bill Gains Momentum in U.S. House

The House bill that would permanently exempt complex rehab technology (CRT) manual wheelchairs from Medicare’s DME competitive bidding program is gaining momentum after being attached to a larger bill that was part of a June 26 Ways & Means Committee markup session.

Language from H.R. 2293, the CRT manual wheelchair bill, has been included in bill H.R. 3429, known as the HEARTS and Rural Relief bill.

H.R. 3429, introduced by Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), has bipartisan support, said NCART Executive Don Clayback in a June 25 letter to the industry. The bill also includes provisions related to healthcare for veterans and returning troops.

“The inclusion of our CRT language in a larger bill is excellent news,” Clayback added. “And the fact the bill is going through the Committee ‘markup’ process places the bill in a much stronger position for a full House vote.”

On June 26, the House Ways & Means Committee approved the legislation by unanimous voice vote, according to an announcement from the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare).

AAHomecare reported that Nunes and Sewell “both spoke in favor of the CRT provisions during the mark-up sessions, as did Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).”

Tom Ryan, AAHomecare’s President and CEO, said, “This is a very positive development for protecting patient access to a broad range of CRT wheelchairs and accessories. AAHomecare and NCART members, along with patient advocacy groups like the ITEM Coalition and United Spinal Association, have been very persistent in their advocacy on manual CRT.”

On June 21, the ITEM Coalition sent letters to Congress to express its support of the House and Senate bills that seek to protect access to CRT manual wheelchairs. The organization also sent a letter supporting the creation of a separate Medicare benefit category for complex rehab technology.

United Spinal’s annual Roll on Capitol Hill advocacy event also took place this week.

About the Author

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

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