Separate benefit: Stakeholders spark efforts for 2013

Friday, December 7, 2012

BALTIMORE – Industry stakeholders are ready to “hit the ground running” on a new bill to create a separate benefit for complex rehab, says Don Clayback.

With the 112th Congress coming to a close, NCART gathered representatives from AAHomecare, NRRTS, RESNA, The Clinician Task Force and the United Spinal Association on Dec. 6 to review the progress of this year’s bill and map out plans for the coming year.

“We’ve laid great groundwork in 2012, getting the bill introduced and getting good quality co-sponsors,” said Clayback, executive director of NCART. “Every conversation we’ve had has pushed us further down the road.”

Stakeholders expect Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., who introduced H.R. 4378 in April, to reintroduce the bill early next year. Thirty-five of the bill’s 36 cosponsors have been re-elected, and stakeholders expect them to continue their support.

Among the strategies for 2013: increased grassroots efforts, especially from the more than 40 large and well-known disability advocacy groups who currently support the bill.

“We have a pretty extensive list of consumer groups supporting us,” said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility. “We’ll be working more directly with them to get their members more involved in advocacy for the legislation.”

Another strategy: a companion bill in the Senate, something stakeholders were unable to get on 2012. Stakeholders focused on senators on the HELP and Finance committees, but those senators have had a lot on their plates.

“We’re looking for a senator with the time and resources to really get behind this bill—and we’re competing with very pressing national issues,” said Clayback. “We’ve made inroads with several offices, but this process takes some time.”

Having put in a lot of time already, stakeholders are hopeful about the separate benefit’s success in the next session.

“We’re not concerned at all that the bill will lose any support,” said Johnson. “And I’m confident there will be multiple vehicles in the next Congress.”HME