Complex rehab bill has sponsor lined up

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WASHINGTON – After nearly two years of effort, the complex rehab separate benefit bill now has a sponsor.

Congressman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, one of the two committees with jurisdiction over HME (the other being Energy and Commerce). This makes him a key person to put behind the bill, said Simon Margolis, NRRTS executive director.

"Don (Clayback) and Gerry (Dickerson)'s persistence made this happen," said Margolis.

Dickerson, vice president for rehab technology for Medstar Surgical and Breathing in College Point, N.Y., made the announcement as he was being honored with the inaugural David T. Williams Advocacy Award at the NRRTS luncheon at Medtrade last week. Dickerson said the announcement was an example of the kind of advocacy efforts that Williams believed made things happen.

The next step in the process: Stakeholders must convince one of the Republican representatives they’ve been in discussions with to step up to the plate, allowing a bipartisan bill to be introduced, said Clayback, NCART executive director.

"We're very excited," said Clayback. "The work we've been doing for the past two years has finally cracked the congressional barrier."

Separate benefit workgroups have worked not only to draft legislation but also to draft regulatory language to share with CMS once the bill is passed to ensure the original intent is followed, Clayback said.

Once the bill is introduced and has a number, CRT stakeholders will begin the grassroots efforts needed to add additional co-sponsors. Margolis said NRRTS has created a large list of contacts and is ready to mobilize them into promoting the bill. HME