NCART stages successful carve-out call-in for rehab

Monday, December 31, 2007

WASHINGTON – The rehab industry on Dec. 4, National Rehab Exemption Day, turned up the heat on Congress to carve out complex rehab from national competitive bidding.
Just after 11 a.m., rehab providers and manufacturers made four phone calls: one to their U.S. representative; two to their U.S. senators; and one to a consumer or clinician. At Permobil’s corporate headquarters in Lebanon, Tenn., 35 employees made 100 calls.
“We wanted them to encourage consumers and clinicians to then make more calls,” said Sharon Hildebrandt, NCART’s executive director. “We were hoping for a snowball effect.”
The rehab industry’s carve-out bill, H.R. 2231, has 25 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. There’s no Senate bill.
NCART held a 15-minute teleconference at 11 a.m. to prep providers and manufacturers. They asked representatives to sign on to H.R. 2231 and senators to ask Finance Committee leaders to include the carve out as part of its Medicare package.
NRRTS Executive Director Simon Margolis hoped the call-in would be as successful as The VGM Group’s Nov. 14 “Shut Down the Switchboard” day, which resulted in about 8,100 calls.
“The idea is to try and ride (the coattails) of some of their success,” he said. “In the past, we’ve tried scare tactics: ‘Do this or your world will end.’ That’s getting old. Now, we’re saying, ‘Here’s a success story. If they can succeed, so can we.’ It never ceases to surprise me—that the industry doesn’t participate in greater numbers.”