Rehab groups court consumers

Monday, July 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - With the stakes high and getting higher, two rehab groups have enlisted Dave Williams, Invacare's former director of government relations, to help gain the support of consumer groups.
NCART's board of directors voted in May to bring Williams onboard as the group's special assistant to President Rita Hostak. NRRTS recently appointed Williams as a consultant.
"A lot of times, issues like competitive bidding seem like they're just supplier issues--the importance to beneficiaries isn't always clear," said Sharon Hildebrandt, NCART's executive director. "But if CMS goes ahead and competitively bids complex rehab, beneficiaries are the ones who are going to be negatively affected."
NCART recently succeeded in getting its rehab carve-out bill, H.R. 4994, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would exempt complex rehab and assistive technology from competitive bidding. Now NCART's busy drumming up support for the bill and having consumer groups like the National Council on Independent Living on its side could be a huge boon.