ROCHESTER, New York—The National Coalition for Assistive & Rehab Technology (NCART), the nonprofit national association advocating for individuals needing complex rehab equipment, has contacted state Medicaid agencies to request increases to reimbursement rates for complex rehab technology (CRT). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Medicare inflation increase for all CRT providers which went into effect in January 2023; NCART is emphasizing the need for states to follow the lead of CMS and urging them to make similar reimbursement adjustments to ensure continued access to vital equipment.

"Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) plays an irreplaceable role in maximizing independence, quality of life, and community access for individuals with significant disabilities," says Wayne Grau, executive director of NCART. "We are calling on payers to acknowledge the considerable cost increases associated with providing CRT equipment and make corresponding reimbursement adjustments. This is crucial to ensure that people in need can continue to receive the equipment they rely on."

Providers and manufacturers of CRT have been facing mounting challenges and increased expenses in recent years. Increased shipping costs, which have risen up to 40% due to various charges and surcharges, coupled with soaring raw material prices have forced major manufacturers to implement price increases. Additionally, increased delivery costs and gasoline prices have further burdened the industry.

CRT providers are bound by fixed Medicare, Medicaid, and third-party payer fee schedules, leaving them unable to raise prices to cover rising costs. Without fee schedule adjustments that align with market realities, it becomes increasingly unsustainable for manufacturers and providers to maintain critical access for people with disabilities.

To ensure patient access to vital products and services, NCART said, states must adjust reimbursement amounts for CRT in line with the market realities facing suppliers. "Failure to provide relief may render it cost-prohibitive for manufacturers and providers to continue supplying CRT equipment, jeopardizing the independence and well-being of those who rely on these devices," the organization wrote in a news release.