Monthly Archives: December 2015

President Signs S-2425 Into Law- CRT Accessories Delay is Official

December 28, 2015

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

This afternoon the President signed S-2425, the legislation passed on December 18th which includes the one year delay in the application of competitive bid rates to accessories used on Group 3 Complex Rehab Power Wheelchairs. So the delay is now official.

We reached out to CMS officials last week regarding the CRT delay and were told once the President signed the bill, CMS would issue supplier instructions. So we expect to see something shortly. Our recommendation is to hold off on billing any claims for Group 3 Power Wheelchair accessories with dates of service on or after January 1, 2016 until this CMS guidance is received.

As we have reported, unfortunately this one year delay does not apply to accessories used with Complex Rehab Manual Wheelchairs. Those accessories will be paid at the recently posted 2016 Medicare Fee Schedule amounts which translates to them being paid at competitive bid rates. We will be working on solutions to this issue as part of our activities in early 2016.

We will share additional information as soon as available.

Regards,

Don

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754
dclayback@ncart.us |www.ncart.us

Happy Holidays and a CRT Thank you

December 23, 2015

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

We want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and thank you for your advocacy work in 2015.

It has been a long and challenging year protecting access to Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) within the Medicare program. The collective advocacy work from all segments of the CRT community has been critical to ensuring people with disabilities can maintain access to the specialized equipment and supporting services they depend on.

The good news is that due to everyone’s Congressional emails, phone calls, personal visits, and other activities we were able to finish 2015 with a one year delay in the application of competitive bid pricing to accessories used with Complex Power wheelchairs. While not a complete win, it is an important one.

This one year delay provides us time for the additional work that must be done, which includes pursuing protection for accessories used with Complex Manual wheelchairs. We must continue to collaborate with Congress in 2016 to establish the separate recognition of CRT within the Medicare program. Through these efforts we will achieve the needed comprehensive and permanent changes.

The CRT advocacy work this year has been a true team effort. While it is not possible to thank everyone individually, a very sincere thanks goes to the following organizations and their people for their commitment and leadership in protecting access to CRT this year (listed alphabetically).

• Abilities Expo
• ALS Association
• American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
• American Association for Homecare
• Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
• Clinician Task Force
• Invacare Corporation
• ITEM Coalition
• MED Group
• Monroe Wheelchair
• Muscular Dystrophy Association
• National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology
• National Council on Independent Living
• National Multiple Sclerosis Society
• National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers
• National Seating & Mobility
• Numotion
• Paralyzed Veterans of America
• Permobil Group
• Quantum Rehab
• RESNA
• Sunrise Medical
• United Spinal Association
• Various State Associations
• Vets First
• VGM Group/US Rehab

As we look ahead, 2016 will be a very important year for CRT. As mentioned, we have a great opportunity to build on the Congressional work and results from this year and we will do that as we all continue to work together to protect access to CRT.

We’ll share more information on the 2016 plans and activities as we move into January.

Regards,
Don

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754
dclayback@ncart.us |www.ncart.us

Congress Passes CRT Power Wheelchair Accessories Delay

Congress Passes CRT Power Wheelchair Accessories Delay

December 18, 2015

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

Talk about right down to the wire! Today was the last day of the 2015 Congressional session and we are happy to report that Congress passed S-2425, the “Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act”. This bill includes a one year delay in the application of Medicare competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab Power Wheelchair Accessories.

This is great news for people with disabilities who depend on Complex Rehab wheelchairs and this would not have happened without the dedication and collective work of the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) community.

Sincere thanks to all the consumers, advocacy organizations, clinicians, providers, manufacturers, and others who worked extremely hard to make this happen! They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well it definitely takes a village to pass legislation in Congress too.

We also want to thank our Congressional Champions and their Congressional staff for their commitment to protecting people with disabilities’ access to CRT and the related supporting services. Please remember to reach back out to your own Members next week and thank them personally.

Unfortunately Congress did not include the full text of HR-3229/S-2196 in bill that was passed today and this delay only applies to accessories used with Complex Power Wheelchairs, not to accessories used with Complex Manual Wheelchairs.  However, this one year delay provides us the opportunity in 2016 to further our work on the wheelchair accessories issue and to establish needed improvements for CRT within Medicare and other health insurance programs.

We have work ahead of us for next year, but the concentrated efforts (and pain) we have put in these past few months has elevated the awareness of CRT in Congress. This lays a solid foundation for continued progress.

We look forward to making further advancements in 2016 in protecting and improving access to CRT and the related supporting services for the children and adults who depend on specialized technology to manage their medical needs and maximize their function and independence.

Thanks again for all your help and Happy Holidays to all!

Don

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754
dclayback@ncart.us | www.ncart.us

URGENT- Senate Phone Calls Needed Today

ACTION NEEDED

December 17, 2015

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

This afternoon the Senate introduced the “Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act”, which includes a one year delay in the application of Medicare competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab Wheelchair Accessories.  To ensure its passage we need you to call your Senators TODAY.

This bipartisan bill has been introduced by Senators Portman (R-OH), Casey (D-PA), Burr (R-NC), Schumer (D-NY), Blunt (R-MO), and Bennet (D-CO) and is limited to resolutions of several non-controversial Medicare issues.  The plan is to get this bill passed before Congress adjourns.

It is being expedited through the Senate using what is called the “hot line” process.  What this means is that once the bill is introduced and distributed, each Senator has 24 hours to object to it.  If there are no objections within that 24 hour period the bill is deemed as passed in the Senate and will be forwarded to the House for their voting.

This is our last opportunity to get the CRT delay implemented this year and we need all CRT stakeholders to take the following action TODAY!  If this effort is successful, we will let you know tomorrow on how to best contact your legislators in the House of Representatives.

ACTION NEEDED: Using the Senate phone list below, please call both of your Senators (unless your Senator is one of the original sponsors above) and deliver this message:

“I need the Senator to support the “Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act”, which has just been introduced by Senators Portman, Casey, Burr, Schumer, Blunt, and Bennet and is being expedited through the “hot line” process.  The bill includes a one year delay in the application of Medicare competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab Wheelchair Accessories and will ensure individuals with significant disabilities continue to receive the specialized technology they depend on.”

Name State Office Phone
Jeff Sessions Alabama 202-224-4124
Richard Shelby Alabama 202-224-5744
Lisa Murkowski Alaska 202-224-6665
Dan Sullivan Alaska 202-224-3004
Jeff Flake Arizona 202-224-4521
John McCain Arizona 202-224-2235
John Boozman Arkansas 202-224-4843
Tom Cotton Arkansas 202-224-2353
Barbara Boxer California 202-224-3553
Dianne Feinstein California 202-224-3841
Michael Bennet Colorado 202-224-5852
Cory Gardner Colorado 202-224-5941
Richard Blumenthal Connecticut 202-224-2823
Chris Murphy Connecticut 202-224-4041
Tom Carper Delaware 202-224-2441
Chris Coons Delaware 202-224-5042
Bill Nelson Florida 202-224-5274
Marco Rubio Florida 202-224-3041
Johnny Isakson Georgia 202-224-3643
David Perdue Georgia 202-224-3521
Mazie Hirono Hawaii 202-224-6361
Brian Schatz Hawaii 202-224-3934
Mike Crapo Idaho 202-224-6142
Jim Risch Idaho 202-224-2752
Dick Durbin Illinois 202-224-2152
Mark Kirk Illinois 202-224-2854
Dan Coats Indiana 202-224-5623
Joe Donnelly Indiana 202-224-4814
Joni Ernst Iowa 202-224-3254
Chuck Grassley Iowa 202-224-3744
Jerry Moran Kansas 202-224-6521
Pat Roberts Kansas 202-224-4774
Mitch McConnell Kentucky 202-224-2541
Rand Paul Kentucky 202-224-4343
Bill Cassidy Louisiana 202-224-5824
David Vitter Louisiana 202-224-4623
Susan Collins Maine 202-224-2523
Angus King Maine 202-224-5344
Ben Cardin Maryland 202-224-4524
Barbara Mikulski Maryland 202-224-4654
Edward Markey Massachusetts 202-224-2742
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts 202-224-4543
Gary Peters Michigan 202-224-6221
Debbie Stabenow Michigan 202-224-4822
Al Franken Minnesota 202-224-5641
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota 202-224-3244
Thad Cochran Mississippi 202-224-5054
Roger Wicker Mississippi 202-224-6253
Roy Blunt Missouri 202-224-5721
Claire McCaskill Missouri 202-224-6154
Steven Daines Montana 202-224-2651
Jon Tester Montana 202-224-2644
Deb Fischer Nebraska 202-224-6551
Ben Sasse Nebraska 202-224-4224
Dean Heller Nevada 202-224-6244
Harry Reid Nevada 202-224-3542
Kelly Ayotte New Hampshire 202-224-3324
Jeanne Shaheen New Hampshire 202-224-2841
Cory Booker New Jersey 202-224-3224
Bob Menendez New Jersey 202-224-4744
Martin Heinrich New Mexico 202-224-5521
Tom Udall New Mexico 202-224-6621
Kirsten Gillibrand New York 202-224-4451
Charles Schumer New York 202-224-6542
Richard Burr North Carolina 202-224-3154
Thom Tillis North Carolina 202-224-6342
Heidi Heitkamp North Dakota 202-224-2043
John Hoeven North Dakota 202-224-2551
Sherrod Brown Ohio 202-224-2315
Rob Portman Ohio 202-224-3353
Jim Inhofe Oklahoma 202-224-4721
James Lankford Oklahoma 202-224-5754
Jeff Merkley Oregon 202-224-3753
Ron Wyden Oregon 202-224-5244
Robert Casey Pennsylvania 202-224-6324
Pat Toomey Pennsylvania 202-224-4254
Jack Reed Rhode Island 202-224-4642
Sheldon Whitehouse Rhode Island 202-224-2921
Lindsey Graham South Carolina 202-224-5972
Tim Scott South Carolina 202-224-6121
Michael Rounds South Dakota 202-224-5842
John Thune South Dakota 202-224-2321
Lamar Alexander Tennessee 202-224-4944
Bob Corker Tennessee 202-224-3344
John Cornyn Texas 202-224-2934
Ted Cruz Texas 202-224-5922
Orrin Hatch Utah 202-224-5251
Mike Lee Utah 202-224-5444
Pat Leahy Vermont 202-224-4242
Bernard Sanders Vermont 202-224-5141
Tim Kaine Virginia 202-224-4024
Mark Warner Virginia 202-224-2023
Maria Cantwell Washington 202-224-3441
Patty Murray Washington 202-224-2621
Shelley Moore Capito West Virginia 202-224-6472
Joe Manchin West Virginia 202-224-3954
Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin 202-224-5653
Ron Johnson Wisconsin 202-224-5323
John Barrasso Wyoming 202-224-6441
Mike Enzi Wyoming 202-224-3424

Thank you for making these important phone calls today.  We will provide further updates as things develop.

Best regards,

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director
716-839-9728
dclayback@ncart.us | www.ncart.us

CRT Concerns Not Addressed in Omnibus Bill- Discussions with Congressional Offices Continue

December 16, 2015

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

Unfortunately a delay in the implementation of the inappropriate January 1 Medicare cuts to Complex Rehab Wheelchair Accessories was NOT included in the Omnibus Budget Bill that was published by Congress last night.

We are continuing to have discussions with our Senate and House champions on alternative resolutions to stop these cuts and thereby avoid hurting people with disabilities who rely on Complex Wheelchairs.

As soon as we have additional information we will provide an update.

Regards,

Don

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754
dclayback@ncart.us | www.ncart.us

CRT Legislation Update

December 11, 2015

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

Legislative Update-

Congress continues to deal with the politics and negotiation as to what will be included in the year-end Omnibus bill to fund the government for next year. While they had hoped to have this completed by today, discussions are continuing and action will be taking place through this weekend and next week.

We have had a great team of industry people, consumer groups, and clinicians working to push for passage of HR-3229/S-2196 as part of the Omnibus bill. As a result we have been included in high level discussions for possible attachment as one of what are referred to as “policy riders”.

The good news is right now we are being told it looks very good for a “year-end CRT fix” to be included. If not complete inclusion of HR-3229/S-2196, there may be a one year delay to allow more time for fuller analysis and the development of a permanent solution.

While we are hearing good news, there is no guarantee of inclusion. We need to stay close to our Congressional supporters through next week emphasizing a CRT fix must be part of year-end legislation . We should know if we are in or out between now and Monday.

You can continue to reach out to your Members using the tools at www.protectmymobility.com.   Our message is simple:  “Congress must stop these inappropriate cuts from being implemented on January 1.  Either pass HR-3229/S-2196 or take other alternative action.”

American Medical Association Supports CRT-

The American Medical Association (AMA) took steps to endorse passage of Complex Rehab Technology legislation during their November AMA House of Delegates Interim Meeting by adopting a resolution brought forward by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a member of the ITEM Coalition and a longtime supporter of our Separate Benefit Category Bill.

The resolution that was adopted was to “strongly encourage CMS to refrain from implementing policies on January 1, 2016 that would curtail access to complex rehabilitation technology (CRT) wheelchairs and accessories by applying competitively bid prices to those specialized devices; and in the event that CMS does not refrain from implementing policies limiting access to CRT wheelchairs, asked that our AMA encourage Congress to support legislation (e.g. HR-3229) that would provide a technical correction to federal law to clarify that CMS cannot apply Medicare competitive bidding pricing to CRT wheelchairs.”

This documented support of CRT access from physicians reinforces the message to Congress that they need to stop CMS from inappropriately applying Competitive Bid pricing to accessories used with Complex Rehab wheelchairs.

We’ll keep you updated on the progress in Congress next week. Thanks for your continued support.

Don

Donald E. Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
Office 716-839-9728 | Cell 716-913-4754
dclayback@ncart.us | www.ncart.us

 

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

Send us an email