Industry makes its case
During a Sept. 25 press event on Capitol Hill, 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, which represents people with Lou Gehrig's disease. The association, as well as Jerry Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), recently endorsed NCART's carve-out bill, H.R. 2231.
"I don't think we could have asked it to go any better," said Don Clayback, NCART's secretary/treasurer. "If you can get five Congressmen in one room for an hour, that's good."
A total of about 50 people attended the event, including various media outlets. Following the event, Roll Call Newspaper printed a photo of two consumers under the headline: "Seeking Access to Technology."
The event included statements from the congressmen 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," said Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, who sponsored H.R. 2231.
Selene Dalton-Kumins told attendees that an ill-fitted wheelchair resulted in a 50% reduction in the function of her right arm. Kumins, who has spinal muscular atrophy, is the new director of MetroAccess, a Washington, D.C., curb-to-curb paratransit service for people with disabilities.
"She's doing great things," said Sharon Hildebrandt, NCART's executive director.
NCART recently picked up three new co-sponsors: Reps. Rick Boucher, D-Va.; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; and Sam Graves, R-Mo. It now has 20 co-sponsors.