All Together Now
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Oct 01, 2021
The California delegation was led by the wise
and wonderful Molly and Jeramy Hale.
National CRT Awareness Week
is done… but what an exhilarating
five days! The highlight
for me was Tuesday, the CRT Virtual
Fly-In cohosted by NCART and NRRTS.
This year’s 220+ Zoom meetings with
Members of Congress, Senators, and
their staffs equaled the number of
meetings for the previous in-person
event, while perhaps giving more
people the chance to participate, as
no travel budget was required.
I was a member of the California delegation, joining consumer Molly Hale;
Jeramy Hale, Molly’s husband and caregiver; Joel Marich of Numotion; and Lew
Shomer of the Abilities Expo. And while I wondered how much we’d be able to
coalesce from the isolation of our own homes and offices, that question disappeared
during our rehearsal. We agreed that Molly and Jeramy would lead
off the discussions, with the rest of us chiming in as appropriate. By the time I
picked out my Fly-In attire — business on top, shorts and fuzzy slippers below the
camera’s view — my nervousness had been replaced with excitement.
Our talking points, explained by NCART and NRRTS during a prep session,
focused on expediting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services review of
coverage policies for power seat elevation and standing devices; additional
financial support for CRT providers and manufacturers; and the inclusion of
occupational and physical therapists in the list of practitioners permanently
approved to perform telehealth visits.
Once our delegation got going, we found some staffers easy to bond with
— Jonathan Kupperman from Rep. Michelle Steel’s office said he’d worked
on repairing wheelchairs for a non-profit a few years ago. Others were more
reserved. But all were respectful and responsive, perking up whenever telehealth
And my nervousness? Gone, thanks to the California delegation. Before end
of day, I was teasingly asking if I could invite them for Thanksgiving dinner. We
hope to come together again in person, at the Capitol.
The moral of the story: If I can advocate for CRT, anyone can.
And here’s a little truth I’ve discovered from being a lifelong editor/reporter:
Generally, people speak very eloquently about what’s important to them. Yes,
preparation is greatly recommended. But if you know your subject and you’re
passionate about it… you will find the words when it’s your turn to speak. And
those words will be wonderful, because they’re from your soul.
Thanks to everyone who participated in CRT Awareness Week. I’ve missed our
in-person gatherings so much, but Awareness Week once again showed how
strong we are when we pull together.
This article originally appeared in the Sep/Oct 2021 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.