MedStar pushes for carve out

Friday, August 31, 2007

COLLEGE POINT, N.Y. - When Gerry Dickerson confirmed that Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., a member of the Ways and Means Committee, would tour MedStar Surgical July 10, he called in the big guns for support.
On hand was a who's who of industry lobbyists: Invacare's Cara Bachenheimer, Sunrise Medical's Rita Hostak, Permobil's Tom Rolick, Pride Mobility's Waybe Grau and NCART's Sharon Hildebrant.
Also on hand were representatives from the seating clinic of a large hospital who are constantly struggling with the "paperwork burden" associated with new documentation requirements for power wheelchairs.
What may have had the largest impact on Crowley, however, were five consumers. Each had their "moment in the sun," Dickerson said, to share their concerns with the congressman over including complex rehab in national competitive bidding.
"It was a wonderful thing to watch transpire," Dickerson said. "When I look at a disabled person, I just see another person, because I work with them every day. You could tell he didn't have that exposure."
The consumers were an "eclectic" mix, Dickerson said, including a woman who has been in a wheelchair for 40 years due to a spinal cord injury and a man who was depressed until a more appropriate wheelchair allowed him to retain his independence.
Unfortunately, in the weeks following the visit, Dickerson still wasn't sure whether Crowley would sign the industry's bill to exempt complex rehab. He was sure Crowley left the tour "understanding our plight and supportive."
"We're continuing to talk to his staff," Dickerson said.