Carve-out update: NCART courts media

Sunday, September 30, 2007

WASHINGTON - During a press event last week, NCART--flanked by five Congressmen and 12 consumers--made its case for carving out complex rehab from national competitive bidding.

Additionally, NCART had support from the ALS Association. The large and well-organized advocacy group, which represents people with Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), recently endorsed NCART's carve-out bill, H.R. 2231.

"I don't think we could have asked it to go any better, in terms of format and message," said Don Clayback, NCART's secretary/treasurer. "If you can get five Congressman in one room for an hour, that's good."

A total of about 50 people attended the event, including various media outlets. The day after the event, Roll Call Newspaper printed a photo of consumers Selene Dalton-Kumins and Dave Williams under the headline: "Seeking Access to Technology."

The event included statements from the congressmen, including Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, who sponsored the carve-out bill, and personal accounts from consumers.

"We must ensure that Medicare beneficiaries who require the use of complex rehabilitation and assistive technology products continue to receive the highest level of service and support necessary to maintain their independence and meet their functional goals," Allen said. "H.R. 2231 will ensure that these technologies continue to be available to the Medicare beneficiaries who need them."

Dalton-Kumins told attendees that an ill-fitted wheelchair resulted in a 50% reduction in the function of her right arm. Dalton-Kumins, who has spinal muscular atrophy, is the new director of MetroAccess, a Washington, D.C., curb-to-curb paratransit service for people who can't use public transportation due to their disability.

"She's doing great things," said Sharon Hildebrandt, NCART's executive director.

NCART recently picked up three new co-sponsors for H.R. 2231: Reps. Rick Boucher, D-Va.; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; and Sam Graves, R-Mo. It now has 20 co-sponsors.