The ADA's legacy

'More work needs to be done,' says Clayback
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

In honor of National CRT Awareness Week and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), NCART released a video in August highlighting the importance of complex rehab wheelchairs and technology.

“If people don’t have the right wheelchair that lets them get out into the community, the ADA can really be an unfulfilled promise,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. 

The video included comments from retired Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who sponsored the ADA. 

Harkin’s message: Congress needs to recognize the specialized nature of complex rehab technology and create laws and policies that support access. 

“It was a major achievement to get the ADA passed,” said Clayback. “If you look at environmental changes—curb cuts, wheelchair ramps, accessible transportation—to progress in terms of hiring and healthcare policies, we’ve moved in a positive direction over the past 25 years.”

However, more work needs to be done, he added.

While the ADA assured equal opportunity, stakeholders are now fighting to make sure those with disabilities have the proper wheelchair and other adaptive equipment they need to fully participate in society.

What they’re doing to help get there: a bill that would prevent CMS from applying competitive bid pricing to accessories for complex power wheelchairs and another set of bills that would create a separate benefit category for complex rehab.

“Whether it’s a policy change or a payment cut, if they’re removing access, it’s a problem,” said Clayback.