Bill will give advocates an edge at CELA

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WASHINGTON - Stakeholders planning to attend CELA may have a big boost when they hit the Hill as part of the April event: a bill to create a separate benefit for complex rehab.

Stakeholders scored a victory in October, when Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., agreed to sponsor a separate benefit bill. Since then, they have worked to find a Republican co-sponsor.

"There is every indication that we'll have a bill introduced in Congress before (CELA)," said NRRTS Executive Director Simon Margolis. "We're hopeful it will be introduced by the end of February."

Registration for CELA, which takes place April 18-19 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel-Crystal City, opened last week.

Margolis said lobbying for the expected bill will be the main focus of CELA. The event will also include a keynote from United Spinal Association President Paul Tobin, and strategy and information sessions to prepare attendees for a busy day of meetings with lawmakers on the Hill. 

Additionally, prior to CELA, on April 16, there will be a national call-in day for stakeholders and consumers to lobby lawmakers to support a separate benefit for complex rehab. Making lawmakers aware that their constituents care about a separate benefit before CELA is key to holding successful meetings during the event, Margolis said. 

"It will be very easy if there's a bill," he said. "People won't have to make explanations. They'll call and say 'I'm a constituent of so-and-so and I'm asking them to support the bill.'" 

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Once again rehab is willing to throw the rest of us under the bus to save their owns skins.