NCART takes on Medicaid

Sunday, September 18, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Rehab technology providers getting hit left and right with state Medicaid cuts have a new friend at the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology.

As part of an initiative kicked off in late August, NCART appointed industry veteran Matthew Burke as Medicaid Project Director. His goal: Prevent further reimbursement cuts and increase access to rehab technology, said Sharon Hildebrandt, executive director of NCART.

"Every time we turn around, there's a different state that's trying to change reimbursement for wheelchairs," she said. "We were trying to work on it in a piece-meal fashion, but it just got to be too much. We felt that it was too important not to do something formally about it."

Burke, who joined NCART on Sept. 6., will work with rehab suppliers, state associations, consumer advocates and clinical groups, coordinating efforts to prevent the Medicaid cuts that have grabbed headlines in states like Missouri.

While rehab suppliers and state associations have fought these cuts in their respective states all along, NCART's initiative puts those efforts in high gear by widening their reach and providing a big-picture perspective.

"To have NCART focusing on Medicaid issues gives suppliers and all of us state associations a place to go, not only for resources but also, hopefully, for consistency," said Karyn Estrella, executive director of the New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association.