Monthly Archives: August 2014

NCART Response to Washington Post Power Wheelchair Article

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Washington Post Article on Medicare Power Wheelchair Fraud Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

An August 16, 2014 Washington Post article entitled “A Medicare Scam That Just Kept Rolling” regarding fraudulent Medicare power wheelchair payments unfairly perpetuates a black cloud over dedicated and accredited Medicare durable medical equipment providers. This makes it harder for people with real disabilities and chronic medical conditions to get the mobility equipment they need.  This is especially troubling for Medicare beneficiaries with disabilities who rely on “complex rehab” power wheelchairs and seating systems from qualified Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) providers. The fact that CMS did not have the right controls in place and allowed scammers to steal from the system in the 1990‐2000s is an unfortunate story that was well documented years ago. The fraudulent and abusive billings and payments should NOT have been allowed to happen. The problems were caused by a very small group who were out to defraud the Medicare program. They were bad apples and it was (and is) CMS’s job to keep them out. Thankfully significant changes have been put in place by CMS since 2006 to make it much harder for criminals to defraud the program.

NCART members whole‐heartedly agree fraud and abuse needs to be identified and stopped. We regularly express our desire to CMS to collaborate on solutions that protect the Medicare trust fund. The CRT/DME industry has long promoted and supported better controls and higher provider standards to protect the Medicare program and its beneficiaries. These improvements have included requiring: independent provider accreditation, beneficiary visits with the prescribing physician, and submission of medical necessity documentation for approval prior to billing. Our shared objective is to make sure only medically necessary quality equipment is provided so that Medicare dollars are protected.

Medicare beneficiaries with significant disabilities require complex rehab power wheelchairs to manage their medical needs and to participate in basic activities of life. Medicare CRT providers strive to do the right thing and serve people who have true disabilities and need mobility and seating assistance as prescribed by their physicians. However, a Medicare beneficiary’s access to medically necessary equipment must be protected from negative unintended consequences in the “safeguarding” process. Congressional legislation has been introduced to provide stronger safeguards and protect access for people with disabilities who require CRT. The “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act” (HR‐942 and S‐948) includes improved standards and safeguards for complex rehab wheelchairs. 148 House members and 20 Senate members are signed on and it’s supported by over 50 national consumer and medical professional groups. This will provide additional improvements. NCART is committed to continuing to collaborate with CMS and other Medicare stakeholders to eliminate fraud and abuse while at the same time protecting access to the critical equipment required by Medicare beneficiaries with significant disabilities and chronic medical conditions. The most effective protection of the Medicare program will come from this ongoing collaboration.

To learn more about Complex Rehab Technology, visit www.ncart.us

#CRTawareness – Pushing CRT Awareness in August

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

As we start the month of August we are going to be putting an extra push on for our CRT legislation and for general CRT awareness. We encourage all CRT stakeholders to take part!

Let’s start with an update on the CRT legislation.

The “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act” continues to gain support. House bill HR-942 has 146 Representatives and Senate bill S-948 has 19 Senators. See the attached list of Members that are signed on to see if yours are on board.

Also, Steering Committee members met yesterday in Washington with the staff of our CRT sponsor offices (Senators Schumer and Cochran and Representatives Crowley and Sensenbrenner). We reviewed the status of our bills and discussed the strategy for the remainder of 2014. They stressed the benefit of securing more co-sponsors to elevate the bill in the eyes of Congressional leadership and the key committees.

Depending on election results and what Congress takes on in terms of Medicare legislation in November/December, the next window of opportunity for our bill to be passed will be in the post-election period. So now is the time to follow up with Congressional offices that have not signed on yet and get them on board.

With elections coming up it is a great opportunity to reach out to your Members. That brings us to the August CRT Awareness Campaign.

Members of Congress will be back in their hometowns for the August recess. With that in mind, the week of August 18th to 24th has been declared National CRT Awareness Week to shine a national spotlight on CRT and secure more support for the HR-942 and S-948. See the attached National CRT Week flyer for more details.

If you can’t connect the week of August 18th, make contact sometime during the month. The contact itself is far more important than the timing!

With your Members home for the whole month you can get to them in-person. No need to travel to Washington! We need CRT stakeholders to touch their Members and ask for support of the CRT bill. You can’t beat a face-to-face connection.

In addition to National CRT Awareness Week, we will be sharing CRT facts, tips for talking with Congress, advocacy videos, and other valuable information relating to promoting CRT access throughout the month.

The best way to keep up to date on all this is to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Just “like” our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter (@access2CRT).  Then, look for the daily updates! If social media isn’t your forte, visit the educational materials section at www.access2crt.org to download and utilize the tools available.

Finally, for all you tweeters, we are going to be using #crtawareness as our August hash tag on Twitter. Please use this to communicate what you do during the month to promote CRT awareness and access.

Thanks for your continued support! As we move through August, share with us your own activities and results and we will then share with your fellow CRT stakeholders.

Don

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | N.C.A.R.T.
716-839-9728 (office) | 716-913-4754 (cell)
dclayback@ncart.us | www.ncart.us

NCART - 54 Towhee Court - East Amherst, NY 14051 - Office: (716) 839-9728 - Fax: (716) 839-9624

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