The Separate Benefit Category for Complex Rehab Technology – What’s Next?
By Elizabeth Cole, MSPT, ATP
The quest for a Separate Benefit Category for Complex Rehab Technology continues with steady progress as we gain legislative support. The Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act was re-introduced by Representatives Joe Crowley(D-NY) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) as H.R.942. We currently have 55 members of the House,both Democrats and Republicans, who have signed on in support. More recently,we succeeded in getting a companion bill, S,948, introduced in the Senate by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Thad Cochran (R-MS). Both Senator Schumer and Senator Cochran have served in the Senate for more than 30years and are members of several key committees. The bi-partisan support of these two respected Senators is invaluable. Our goals are now to get additional signatures on both of these bills. Once we have enough signatures, our next major hurdles will be obtaining a score by the Congressional Budget Office and getting the bill attached to a larger bill to go before Congress for a vote. We are hopeful to get this accomplished before the end of the year.
So now is the time for all of us to truly push for additional support from other members of Congress. If your Representative and Senators have not yet signed on, we on the steering committee encourage you to contact them to ask for their support. You can contact them by phone by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking for your member’s office. Then explain you are calling on a Medicare issue and ask for the “Health Legislative Assistant”. Or you can email them by going to www.access2crt.org, use the “Contact Congress” link and personalize the e-mail template that is provided there. Or, an even more effective way to gain the support of your members of Congress might be to meet with them in person when they are in their home districts in August.You can make an appointment to visit their offices or extend an invitation to them to visit your facility to see CRT “up close and personal”.
We also encourage you to extend an invitation to your members of Congress to attend a great educational opportunity in Washington, DC on July 15th. The Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, along with Representatives Crowley and Sensenbrenner, have agreed to hold a Congressional Briefing on July 15th entitled “Enabling Independence for People with Disabilities: the Importance of Complex Rehab Technology”. This forum will provide Congressional staff with an opportunity to learn about the role CRT plays in the health and independence of people with disabilities and what can be done to ensure that they have continued access to this technology and related services. At the briefing, there will be personal “testimonies” from individuals who use CRT as well as presentations that will discuss what needs to be changed under Medicare and why CRT must be treated differently from DME. In addition, we will have CRT seating and mobility equipment in the room so the attendees can see actual examples of what we are all about. And lunch will be provided!
So,if your Members have NOT signed on as a cosponsor to H.R.942 and/or S.948, we encourage you to send a short email to the Health Legislative Assistants in their respective offices and invite them to this event. You can attach the invitation found on this LINK.Let them know that this will be agreat opportunity to learn first-hand about the issues that people with disabilities are facing when it comes to their healthcare and independence and how CRT plays an important assistive role. We would ask you to continue to follow up with them until you get a yes or no as to their attendance and email email@example.com with the ultimate outcome.
We need “all hands on deck” to gather support for this important initiative and protect access to the equipment and services so vital to our customers. Now is the time for action!
If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Cole at eElizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org.