NCART to discuss 'basic concepts' of separate benefit

Monday, August 31, 2009

WASHINGTON - NCART plans to make public the results of a study to create a separate benefit for complex power wheelchairs during a panel discussion at Medtrade in October.

NCART contracted with Avalere Health, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm focused on healthcare business strategy and public policy, to identify options for divorcing DME.

"We'll talk about the basic concepts and allow time for open discussion," said Don Clayback, NCART's executive director. "As we start pulling this together, we want to make sure that we secure input from various organizations, whether they be individual providers, state associations or others."

NCART expected to share the results of the study with a newly formed steering committee last week. It then planned to organize a face-to-face meeting for committee members in September.

Members of the steering committee, chaired by Clayback: Gary Gilberti and Rita Hostak representing NCART; Walt Gorski and Tim Pederson, AAHomecare and its Complex Rehab and Mobility Council; Simon Margolis, NRRTS; and Elizabeth Cole, RESNA.

NCART expects to bring other stakeholders, like Laura Cohen of The Clinician Task Force, into the fold in the near future.

"There'll be an opportunity for others to be involved once we start tackling the specifics of credentialing requirements, coding and legislative approaches," Clayback said. "That's almost a necessity. We'll also involve consumer groups."

NCART and other stakeholders believe complex power wheelchairs should have their own benefit because they're specialized and service-intensive products.

Additionally, they believe a separate benefit would help to protect complex power wheelchairs from reimbursement cuts to DME.