Within the past few weeks, the Senate and House have taken a few key steps to prevent the inappropriate application of Medicare competitive bid rates to CRT.
On July 28, Representative Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 3229, a bill that would make a technical correction to exclude complex rehabilitative accessories, cushions and backs from the competitive bid program.
This bill will protect access to CRT accessories for all patients, including veterans who need CRT accessories because of injuries sustained while deployed. If this technical correction is not passed, it will harm our member manufacturers with their research and development for CRT technology.
VGM and U.S. Rehab are currently searching for a champion in the Senate to introduce a companion bill.
H.R. 3229 is extremely important to our industry. It would protect our members from serious cuts to payments on CRT accessories and also protect patient access to medically necessary equipment.
Over 100 representatives signed onto the Dear Colleague letter asking for CMS to rescind the inappropriate application of competitive bid pricing to CRT accessories. Since CMS refused the Congressional request, a technical correction like this is necessary to protect the future of CRT. Please urge your representatives to sign onto this bill.
In addition, Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Cochran (R-Miss.) composed a letter to CMS on Aug. 3 asking to remove CRT accessory items from the competitive bidding program. Much like the House’s Dear Colleague letter, the Senate sign-on letter requested CMS to issue a clarification that CRT accessories used for manual and power wheelchairs will continue to be paid at Medicare established fee schedule amounts and not be reduced to Medicare competitive bid rates.
U.S. Rehab and VGM Government Relations asked you to urge your senators to sign onto this letter. There were a total of 352 messages sent to 64 different Senate offices using VGM Government Relations' Action Center only. With only two full days to ask for Senators to sign on, the letter received 22 signatures. Thank you to everyone who sent messages and contacted their representatives about this important issue.
We will continue to work with our industry allies, including NCART and AAHomecare, to fight for patient access for medically necessary equipment. We need your help to continue to keep our industry moving forward. As the House and Senate are on August recess, please contact your representatives to discuss how detrimental it would be to patient access, provider survival and the entire industry if competitive bid rates are applied to CRT accessories.
This CRT accessory issue is the number one priority for U.S. Rehab. If competitive bid rates are applied to accessories, it would be a major detriment to the entire industry, providers and manufacturers alike.
President, U.S. Rehab