Awareness continues to grow for separate benefit legislation regarding complex rehab technology
by Seth Johnson

Support continues to build in the House and Senate for legislation H.R. 942 and S. 948, respectively, to create a separate benefit category for complex rehab technology (CRT) within the Medicare program. At press time, there were 75 cosponsors on the House bill and four on the Senate legislation. While we have much more work to do to secure passage of these bills, the support has never been stronger within Congress and the industry. How can you help?

CRT Congressional Briefing

NCART was successful in facilitating a House Disabilities Caucus briefing in conjunction with Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill on July 15. The briefing was standing room only with nearly 75 individual congressional offices in attendance, along with consumer groups and other stakeholders. The briefing provided an excellent overview of CRT and the challenges that the legislation addresses. Paul Tobin, president and CEO of the United Spinal Association, and another consumer spoke at the briefing—which was facilitated by Don Clayback, NCART executive director—
to provide consumer perspective and support for the bill. While attendees indicated they understood how CRT is different from other DME items and the importance this technology plays in ensuring a person’s health, access and productivity, there are still many members of Congress who need to be educated about why CRT should be pulled out of the DME category and placed into a new one, which is to protect access for beneficiaries in need.

National CRT Week

August 19-23 was National CRT Week, with the goal of having all stakeholders set up meetings with their legislators during the August congressional recess period. During this time, legislators are typically back home in their respective states and districts, and it is generally easier to gain their undivided attention. Site visits, product demonstrations and meetings that occurred during the week not only resulted in increased awareness and education for Representatives and Senators, but it also yielded nearly 20 additional cosponsors of the legislation. If your legislators were unable to meet with you during this busy time, contact them again and request another time that will fit their schedules. Your support is vital.

Resources Available

The website was specifically designed to serve as a resource center for advocacy materials in support of the separate benefit legislation. The website includes an introduction to CRT video, which is intended to provide an overview of CRT to policy makers. Additionally, the website offers tips on hosting a congressional site visit at your business, as well as updated advocacy materials, which include a position paper with talking points, facts and figures of CRT; the CRT delivery process and the consumer organizations who are supporting the legislation.

How To Help

Members of Congress will be in their home states and districts the week of 
October 14 for the Columbus Day holiday. This is a great time to host legislators at your company for a site visit or simply meet with them to discuss the CRT separate benefit legislation and request that they cosponsor. Remember to visit for the CRT advocacy information pack, which is filled with the materials necessary to educate your legislators on the need to join in supporting a growing number of their colleagues who are endorsing this vital legislation.

As Congress begins to wrap up its legislative work for the year, there is expected to be a Medicare package developed to remove a scheduled cut in physician payments that, absent congressional action, will occur January 1, 2014. While that could be a vehicle for the CRT separate benefit legislation, to best increase our chances of success this year we need to secure as many cosponsors as possible on H.R. 942 and S. 948 this month.

Please do not delay. Visit access2 to get the latest updates and to see if your legislator has cosponsored the bill. If they have, send a note of appreciation. If not, call their office to set up a meeting. With a little effort on everyone’s part we can and will get this legislation passed.