Accessories language passes Congress

President expected to sign bill on Friday
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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

WASHINGTON – Language suspending competitive bidding pricing for accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs has passed as part of year-end spending legislation in both the House of Representatives and Senate, NCART reports.

The language, included in H.R. 1865, would require CMS to stop applying bid pricing to these accessories for 18 months starting Jan. 1, 2020.

The House passed the bill 297-120; the Senate 71-23. The president is expected to sign it Friday.

The language would also provide a permanent exemption from the bid program for complex rehab manual wheelchair bases and accessories.

Earlier this year, Reps. John Larson, D-Conn., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., introduced H.R. 2293, a bill to suspend bid pricing for complex rehab manual accessories; and Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced S. 1223, a bill to exempt complex rehab power and manual wheelchairs and accessories from bid pricing.

Late in 2018, similar language was passed by the House as part of H.R. 7217, but it stalled in the Senate at the 11th hour, amid a government shutdown.

Stakeholders have been trying to stop CMS from applying bid pricing for accessories for years. In 2015, industry champions were able to stave off bid pricing for accessories for complex rehab power wheelchairs for a year. In 2016, they were able to do it again for another six months. CMS then decided not to apply bid pricing for accessories for complex rehab power wheelchairs, starting July 1, 2017.

Bid pricing for complex rehab manual wheelchairs, however, has been in place since Jan. 1, 2016.