Bill seeks to resolve accessories issue for complex manual wheelchairs

Friday, September 8, 2017

WASHINGTON – A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives Sept. 8 that would stop competitive bidding-related cuts for accessories for complex manual wheelchairs that have been in place since Jan. 1, 2016.

H.R. 3730, introduced by Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn., would require CMS to use the same payment policy for accessories for complex manual wheelchairs as it does for complex power wheelchairs.

"Our thanks to Representative Zeldin, Representative Larson, and the other Representatives who joined as original co-sponsors," said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. "We sincerely appreciate their leadership to help protect access to CRT for people with disabilities."

CMS in late June announced that it would no longer apply bid-related pricing for accessories for complex power wheelchairs on July 1 as planned.

The change would involve minimum administrative effort on CMS’s part and would be applied “prospectively,” according to NCART.

The bill has a strong start with 41 original co-sponsors.

Legislation introduced in the House and Senate in 2016 sought to stop the cuts for accessories for both complex power and manual wheelchairs.

Stakeholders and their champions in Congress were able to stave off the cuts for accessories for complex power wheelchairs, but not complex manual wheelchairs, for a year in 2016 and six months in 2017, before CMS stepped in.

Industry stakeholders have argued it doesn’t make sense to protect access to accessories for one and not the other, as complex manual wheelchair users also need, for example, special cushions to protect them from pressure sores.