CRT stakeholders want to be ‘front of line’ in January

Friday, December 19, 2014

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders are gearing up for the 114th Congress after the last one ended without passing bills in the House of Representatives or the Senate to create a separate benefit for complex rehab.

The bills—H.R. 942 and S. 948—had 168 and 22 co-sponsors, respectively. During the lame duck session, the bills managed to pick up support from eight representatives and one senator.

Don Clayback attributes the late surge of co-sponsors to stakeholders’ ongoing efforts to reach out to Congressional offices.

“People were talking to their members during elections,” he said. “Then in November, there were continued discussions with members who weren’t on board yet.”

The bills’ original sponsors, Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Sens. Charles “Chuck” Schumer, D-N.Y., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss.,have already agreed to reintroduce the bills when Congress convenes in January, says Clayback, executive director of NCART.

“This is an opportunity for us to make some minor changes to address the things that have happened over the past two years” he said.

Specifically: Reversing the capped rental classification of CRT items; the inclusion of a provision that would make CRT items available for purchase, rather than rental; and clarifying language regarding payment methodology for CRT items.

Industry leaders are confident that those 190 members of Congress who co-sponsored the bills during this past session of Congress will do so in the next, assuming they were re-elected.

“There’s not going to be any change to the bill that should prevent anyone from signing back on,” said Clayback.

In the meantime, Clayback urges providers to reach out to their members of Congress and ask them to sign on to the new bill or seek out new co-sponsors.

“There’s a lot of bills that get introduced in the month of January,” he said. “We’re doing what we can to make sure we’re at the front of the line.”

Stakeholders hope to get the bills attached to a larger piece of Medicare legislation, ideally the sustainable growth rate (SGR) legislation, which expires March 31.

“There is an expectation that Congress is going to have to do some Medicare legislation,” said Clayback. “February and March will be important months.”

Also in the works for 2015 is CRT legislation for New York and Oklahoma.

“There’s discussions going on and we hope to have something there,” said Clayback.