Rehab group postpones fly-in

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WASHINGTON - To better arm members for the lobbying fight ahead, the National Coalition for Assistive Rehab Technology postponed its February congressional fly-in.
NCART members planned to storm the Capitol Feb. 6 and 7 to petition legislators to exclude high-end rehab and assistive technology from national competitive bidding. But because a bill intended to do that had yet to be introduced by late December, the group decided to reschedule the fly-in for this spring.
"We were unsure whether legislation would be introduced in time," said Sharon Hildebrandt, NCART's executive director. "Since the purpose of the fly-in is getting co-sponsors for the legislation, the timing was off."
The association had a representative lined up to introduce the "carve-out" legislation in early February, when the House was expected to reconvene. Hildebrandt declined to name the representative.
NCART also postponed its fly-in because the industry was still waiting for Medicare to publish details on its NCB program. If the agency made an announcement in early February, as was expected, members would want to petition legislators about that, too, said Don Clayback, NCART secretary/treasurer.
The need for the "carve out," says the association, stems from the customized nature of high-end rehab: Because the equipment addresses the unique needs of individual patients, it shouldn't be competitively bid.