By – Kay Koch, OTR/L,ATP, RESNA Fellow
Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) includes specialized wheelchairs, seating systems, and other adaptive equipment such as standing devices and gait trainers. These individually configured products are used by people with high level disabilities such as ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury to meet their unique medical needs, reduce their medical complications and costs, and maximize their function, mobility and independence.
Currently, Congress is considering legislation that would protect access to Complex Rehab Technology. This will replace the previously introduced broader bill, H.R. 1361, written to prohibit CMS from using Competitive Bid pricing for accessories used with either CRT power or CRT manual wheelchairs.
The CRT “power” wheelchair accessories issue was resolved in late June 2017 when CMS announced a policy clarification stating it would not use Competitive Bid pricing for accessories used with Group 3 CRT power wheelchairs. We thank CMS and Congress for that needed action.
Unfortunately, the clarification did not extend to accessories used with CRT “manual” wheelchairs so this follow up legislation is needed. Passage of this new bill would address and fix the current disparity that prevents people who use a CRT manual wheelchair from having the same access to CRT accessories as those using a CRT power wheelchair.
H.R. 3730 is the newest bill introduced to stop CMS’ inappropriate application of Medicare Competitive Bid pricing to CRT ( Complex Rehab Technology) manual wheelchair accessories, which are critical wheelchair components. This legislation was introduced September 8, 2017 by Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and John Larson (D-CT) to stop CMS from using Competitive Bid pricing for accessories used with CRT manual wheelchairs. They were joined in this bipartisan action by 41 original cosponsors (19 Republicans and 22 Democrats) and includes excellent representation from the key Congressional Committees.
This bill is needed to resolve the lingering issue of CMS applying competitive bid pricing to accessories used with CRT manual wheelchairs. Unfortunately, the June policy change by CMS solved the problem for CRT power wheelchairs but did not extend that same correction to CRT manual wheelchair accessories. People with disabilities who use a CRT manual wheelchair should have the same access to critical wheelchair components as those who use a CRT power wheelchair.
Please contact you representative to either ask them for support of this legislation or thank them for their support. If you work with people who use CRT as them to get involved with asking their representative for support of this legislation. A Senate companion bill is expected to be introduced shortly, but for now, the focus remains on securing House of Representatives cosponsors.
The following website links provide information on the legislation, and how to contact your representative.