U.S. Rehab and VGM Government Relations Attend Congressional Briefing in Washington D.C.
on September 19, 2022
Wednesday, Sept. 14, was a momentous day of advocating for CRT and other key legislative issues. Greg Packer, president, U.S. Rehab, and Tom Powers, consultant, VGM Government Relations, spent time in Washington D.C. attending the NCART/NRRTS Virtual Congressional Fly-In and a congressional briefing on power seating and standing systems for power wheelchairs.
The congressional briefing was held Wednesday afternoon in Washington D.C. and was attended by U.S. Rehab, NCART, and many other industry advocates. There were over 50 people at the briefing, and over 20 congressional offices had some form of representation present.
“It was a great turnout, and it went very well as key members of the research community, the consumer community, and the legislative community spoke to the key issues on power seat elevation and standing systems,” said Greg Packer. “They also discussed the need to continue the push of having power standing brought to the front of attention so that comments can be started for it soon.”
The briefing was held to continue the discussion about why it is incorrect for Medicare to list power seat elevation and standing systems for power wheelchairs as “not medically necessary” for people with disabilities.
Thank you to all the speakers who attended this briefing, including current wheelchair users who offered their perspectives such as Kent Keyser, Jim Meade, and Ali Ingersoll, who was recently crowned Miss Wheelchair America 2023. They were followed by a physician’s perspective given by Dr. Anjali Shah and research perspectives from Cara Masselink and Dr. Mark Schmeler. The briefing was finished with congressional perspectives from Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA).
The virtual fly-ins were also extremely successful with over 300 advocates who held meetings with 292 congressional offices throughout the day. There was representation from all areas within the CRT community, including consumers, clinicians, providers, manufacturers, family members, caregivers, and others.
All of this happened on the same day that CMS’ 30-day comment period on Medicare coverage of power seat elevation concluded. The comment period had massive success with over 3,500 comments being submitted during the period.
One important request that came from the meetings on Wednesday is for the House of Representative members to join a BIPARTISAN sign-on letter being led by Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), and John Rose (R-TN). The letter, which can be read here, urges CMS to move expeditiously in the review and coverage of power seat elevation systems and to open the comment period for power standing systems as soon as possible. The House of Representatives has until Oct. 3 to sign on, and we need your help. Click here to email your representative and ask them to sign on. We want to send a strong message to CMS!
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