NCART calls for action on accessories

‘This is an extremely serious threat’
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WASHINGTON – NCART is calling on members of the House of Representatives this week to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter asking CMS to reconsider its plans to apply competitive bidding pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories.

Stakeholders are collecting signatures until noon on Friday, March 27.

“This is an extremely serious threat to CRT access for both Medicare beneficiaries and for individuals enrolled in Medicaid and other health insurance plans,” Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, wrote in a call to action. “The only way CMS will change this policy is if Congress intervenes and compels them to.”

CMS plans to make the change on Jan. 1, 2016. Stakeholders say it could result in payment cuts ranging from 20% to 50% for complex rehab wheelchair accessories.

Six representatives authored the letter: Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio; John Larson, D-Conn.; Diana DeGette, D-Colo.; Mike Kelly, R-Pa.; David Loebsack, D-Iowa; and Devin Nunes, R-Calif. They all serve on either the Energy & Commerce or Ways & Means committees.

The letter points out, as part of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, Congress exempted complex rehab from competitive bidding.

“The application of competitive bidding pricing to these accessories is contrary to MIPPA and to subsequent CMS policies related to payment for complex rehabilitative manual wheelchair accessories,” it states. “Clear precedent affirms that these items should continue to be paid at the established fee schedule amounts, as they are today and have been for more than six years.”

NCART has developed a dedicated web page to help stakeholders recruit representatives to sign the letter. The page provides information/documents on the issue and allows them to directly email their representatives to request their signature.