Virtual Fly-In: Congressional “Asks” Announced

At an Aug. 10 planning meeting led by NCART, the main talking points for the Sept. 14 Virtual CRT (Complex Rehab Technology) Congressional Fly-In were announced.

At the top of the list: Asking Congress to support Medicare coverage for power standing and seat elevation on power wheelchairs. In May, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said the public comment period for amending Medicare policy to include coverage would be posted by August. (As this article was published, the public comment period had not yet opened.)

Second: Fly-In participants will ask for increased CRT reimbursement, due to significant increases in the costs of providing equipment and related services. Those significantly higher costs include everything from the raw materials needed to build wheelchairs and seating, to shipping costs to deliver products to suppliers, fuel costs for suppliers driving to clinics and consumer homes, and personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves. Manufacturers and suppliers are faced with higher costs of doing business while being reimbursed at rates set well before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The third “ask”: That Congress retain telehealth options for CRT clinicians even after the Public Health Emergency is over. NCART Executive Director Don Clayback said the organization is encouraging members of Congress to cosponsor and pass H.R. 4040, the “Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2021.” While multiple telehealth bills have been written in the last few years, Clayback noted the importance of ensuring that no “CRT-limiting” language is in any broader telehealth bill.

During the Sept. 14 Fly-In, state delegations will meet with legislators and staffers via videoconference. Registration this year is free.

About the Author

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

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