Stakeholders throw Hail Mary to protect accessories

Friday, December 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – Complex rehab stakeholders have successfully staved off CMS's plan to apply competitive bid pricing to accessories for complex rehab wheelchairs for at least one year.

On Dec. 17, Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Robert Casey, D-Pa., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which included a provision to delay the change, which was slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

“While Congress did not include the full text of HR-3229/S-2196 in the bill passed today, this one year delay provides us the opportunity in 2016 to further our work on the wheelchair accessories issue and in establishing needed improvements for CRT within Medicare and other health insurance programs,” wrote Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, in an update to members.

Stakeholders took a blow earlier in the week of Dec. 14 when a handful of industry-related bills, including bills in the Senate and House of Representatives to prevent CMS from applying bid pricing to accessories for complex rehab wheelchairs, were left out of an omnibus spending package.

Since Congress adjourns today, the new bill was expedited using a “hot line” process. Once the bill is introduced, each senator has 24 hours to object to it; if there are no objections, the bill is passed in the Senate and moves to the House for a vote, according to NCART.

Shortly after 1 p.m. today, both the House and the Senate passed S. 2425, which is on its way to the president's desk to be signed.