Complex Rehab Stakeholders Send ‘Powerful Message'

Published in Complex Rehab on September 25, 2023

Complex rehab stakeholders send ‘powerful message' This post was originally featured in HME News.

A recent fly-in and product expo organized by NCART and NRRTS was the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for several of the complex rehab industry’s top priorities, including getting CMS to move forward with coverage for power standing systems.  

More than 200 attendees participated and more than 200 “congressional connections” were made as part of the virtual fly-in on Sept. 13. 

“Efforts to get CMS to open the comment period for power standing was well-received across the board by the legislative offices,” said Wayne Grau, executive director of NCART. “The feedback was great.” 

CMS began covering power seat elevation systems earlier this year and while the agency has indicated it will move forward with the same process for power standing systems it has yet to do so. 

Next steps for power standing systems are still to be determined, in conjunction with the ITEM Coalition, which filed the request for redetermination for both power seat elevation and power standing systems several years ago, Grau said. 

“We want to work with CMS and we’re scheduling a call with them,” Grau said. “Maybe we will pursue a Dear Colleague letter in Congress, but we need to hear CMS out and see where they are at with it. It’s important to remember that they’re not only making coverage determinations for us – it’s everybody and they have a waiting list.” 

Talking points during the fly-in also included reimbursement and repair reform, and a bill that was recently introduced in the House of Representatives that would allow for code upgrades for titanium and carbon filter manual wheelchairs under Medicare. 

‘It takes a village’ 

Sixty-five attendees, representing a variety of manufacturers, assistive technology professionals (ATPs), clinicians and consumer advocates, participated in the product expo in-person on Sept. 14 in the conveniently located Cannon Caucus Room. 

“It was one meaningful conversation after another with the congressional staffers who came in,” said Mickae Lee, associate director of NCART. “It takes a village to put this on and this is why we do it – you see what a difference it makes. It’s all about building those relationships between the CRT community and policy makers and communicating the needs of the industry and those we serve and asking for action that will create outcomes for enhanced access.” 

Above all, the involvement of consumers, including Ali Ingersoll, Ms. Wheelchair American 2023, in the expo was key. 

“It was great they got the perspective of seeing these pieces of equipment, but it’s the people that were there who use the equipment that have the most impact,” said Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS. “They’re the ones carrying the message – not me, not a manufacturer. They’re the powerful ones.” 


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