The problem: Right now, Medicare is looking to put wheelchairs and other CRT into competitive bidding which just doesn’t work when we need very unique and customized chairs. For example, Medicare categorizes all the “accessories” under the same code, even though they’re very different. For example, people need very different headrests. Some people just need a basic headrest that allows the to put their head back and have support. Others need much more complex headrests with straps, cushions, and other supports. The costs between the two are significantly different, but the code “headrest” doesn’t allow the supplier to get reimbursed fairly for the more complex headrest. Therefore, under competitive bidding, the supplier wouldn’t get paid for a complex headrest, so they won’t be able to supply it.
What you can do to help: Email Representative Nancy’s Pelosi’s office at : Wendell.Primus@mail.houose.gov by Tuesday, November 9 to share your story of the importance of complex rehab technology in your life.
Here are some points to include in your email:
· Support passage of HR 3229 / S.2196 to protect access to complex rehab wheelchair accessories.
· Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) are medically necessary, individually configured products such as certain manual and power wheelchairs, adaptive seating systems and alternative positioning systems that keep people with significant disabilities such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis (MS) and muscular dystrophy healthy and independent.
· CRT accounts for less than ten percent of Medicare’s wheelchair expenditures.
· For this small population with such progressed disability, these products cannot be utilized and are not beneficial unless they have essential components—coined “accessories”—such as head support systems, specialized seating systems, sip and puff interfaces or tilt-and-recline features.
· Complex rehab technology helps me remain active and independent which provides a better quality of life, while saving the government money.
· We heard that HR 3229 / S.2196 will be considered when Congress returns in November. This legislation must pass by January 1 to avoid significant access issues for those who need specialized CRT wheelchairs.
Bellow are some sample letters you can free to customize for your use:
Hello, my name is XXX and I live in XX I’m also a person with a disability that requires the use ofcomplex rehab technology. I am writing to ask Rep. Pelosi to support the passage of HR 3229 / S.2196.
I am concerned about the possibility of competitive bidding for wheelchairs and complex rehab technology. I use a wheelchair that is custom designed for me–my headrest is not just any typical ‘accessory’ even though it might be coded the same as a standard headrest.
Every part of my wheelchair is a part of my body. Customization of my wheelchair prevents injuries and healthcare costs. I hope that this bill will pass so that people with disabilities like myself will not have any issues accessing this equipment that is essential for our quality of life and ability to participate in society.
Dear Senator Wyden and staff: