NCART stays the course

Friday, February 29, 2008

WASHINGTON - NCART has kept its eye on the ball amidst reports that in December The Scooter Store did some lobbying against H.R. 2231, the coalition's rehab carve-out bill, on Capitol Hill.
"We haven't changed our strategy," said Executive Director Sharon Hildebrandt. "Now that Congress is back in session, we're seeking to have a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and we're trying to get additional co-sponsors in the House of Representatives."
Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, introduced H.R. 2231, which would exempt complex rehab and assistive technology from national competitive bidding, on May 15, 2007. It has 34 co-sponsors.
During recent lobbying visits, legislators have not asked Hildebrandt about The Scooter Store's position that CMS should exempt both consumer and complex rehab from competitive bidding.
"I think it's more of an industry issue," she said.
Hildebrandt spent a good part of January renewing and updating contacts with members of the Senate Finance Committee. Additionally, she was gearing up for the Continuing Education and Legislative Advocacy Conference. NRRTS's April 23-25 conference will include Capitol Hill visits.
NCART has help from The Clinician Task Force on the way. The group of 37 seating and wheelchair practitioners plans to establish a "champion" in each of the 80 MSAs to lobby for the rehab carve-out bill, said Co-coordinator Laura Cohen.
"We need to be persistent and noisy," she said.