First-ever CRT Week encourages outreach

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WASHINGTON – Summer may be a time to relax, but industry stakeholders say it’s also a key time to get some serious work done for a separate benefit for complex rehab.

“Congress will be on recess in August, so it will be the perfect time to meet with representatives face-to-face,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “Those one-on-one visits are what really make a difference.”

NCART has declared Aug. 19-23 National CRT Week to rally stakeholders to make contact with their congressional representatives. The main strategy: Get a representative to visit an HME provider’s location or approach lawmakers at events like county fairs and fundraisers. 

Stakeholders want to keep momentum going for two bills that would create a separate benefit for complex rehab. H.R. 942, introduced in March, had 58 co-sponsors at press time. S. 948, with three cosponsors, was just getting off the ground after its introduction in May by Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss. 

Visiting potential co-sponsors on their home turf should lead to better conversations, says Simon Margolis, executive director of NRRTS. 

“On the Hill, they’re so busy running in circles,” he said. “In their home territory, they’re a little more relaxed.”

Providers shouldn’t be nervous to walk right up to lawmakers or staffers at public appearances, says Clayback.

“They have a vested interest in you as a potential voter, so you should at least get an open ear,” said Clayback. “Your job is to let them know that this is important—it helps ensure people with disabilities get the equipment they need.”