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Advocacy Action Center: Protect Medicare Beneficiary Access to Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT)

Dec 15, 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will apply competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab wheelchair accessories effective January 1, 2016. This violates the intent of past Congressional legislation (MIPPA 2008) and will inappropriately reduce payment rates for 171 wheelchair accessory codes from 20% to over 40%. If not rescinded, this will hurt Medicare beneficiaries with significant disabilities as it will cause major decreases in availability (or outright elimination) of individually configured Complex Rehab wheelchair systems that these individuals rely on. These access problems will also extend to children and adults with disabilities covered under Medicaid and other health insurance programs.
 
AAPM&R, along with many other organizations, is making significant progress in effort to prevent major payment cuts to Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT), but we need your help to ensure that we have the congressional support necessary to protect Medicare beneficiary access to this crucial equipment. Congressional champions of H.R. 3229/S. 2196 have indicated they need more co-sponsors on both bills so they can push for passage. This bill is in competition with hundreds of others attempting to be enacted before the December 31 deadline. We must elevate the urgency of this crisis and the best way to do this is to get more co-sponsors.
 
Thanks to efforts of your Academy, the American Medical Association (AMA) has already adopted policy that CMS should not apply competitively bid rates to CRT and, if CMS does not comply, Congress should enact H.R. 3229/S. 2196. Thank you to the AAPM&R delegation to the AMA for introduction of the policy and thanks to all of our members who have already reached out to their Congressmen. Although we are proud of these accomplishments, we know that there is still much work to do with very little time.
 
Please take a moment to send a customizable email asking your Congressmen to immediately pass H.R. 3229/S. 2196.


Template Letter

Congress Must Enact H.R. 3229 / S. 2196 to Support Access to Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT)

As a physiatrist, my specialty is primarily focused on diagnosing and serving the needs of people with a wide range of disabilities and chronic conditions. Having firsthand knowledge of the complex equipment required by patients, I implore Congress to pass H.R.3229/S. 2196. Passing this bipartisan legislation, as part of the Omnibus appropriations bill or attached to another moving legislative vehicle by year's end will prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from inappropriately restricting access to critical complex wheelchair components/accessories on January 1, 2016.

CMS announced that it will apply competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab wheelchair accessories, which violates the intent of past Congressional legislation (MIPPA 2008) and will inappropriately reduce payment rates for 171 wheelchair accessory codes from 20% to over 40%. If not rescinded, this will hurt Medicare beneficiaries with significant disabilities as it will cause major decreases in availability (or outright elimination) of individually configured Complex Rehab wheelchair systems that these individuals rely on. These access problems will also extend to children and adults with disabilities covered under Medicaid and other health insurance programs.

I urge Congress to amend the Medicare statute to clarify that complex rehabilitative accessories are exempt from Medicare competitive acquisition rate and prevent cuts from occurring, thereby protecting access for people with disabilities. Given the consequences and urgency, please take action immediately by enacting H.R. 3229/S. 2196 before December 31, 2015.