Texas: Victory in Lone Star State
AUSTIN, Texas – State lawmakers in May passed a bill that could have put complex rehab equipment in jeopardy. Instead, they carved it out.
The bill, S.B. 1175, establishes a reuse program for HME for Medicaid patients—something industry stakeholders say isn’t appropriate for complex rehab.
“There are functional issues, problems with the warranties, safety issues, sanitation issues,” said Alexis Ward, vice president of the Greater Texas Rehab Providers Council (TXRPC). “Every item is specialized to the person it is provided to.”
TXRPC hired Austin-based lobbying firm Polan Culley to work with lawmakers to get complex rehab removed not only from S.B. 1175 but also two other healthcare bills that would have increased the administrative burden on hospitals and clinics and resulted in delays for patients.
“We let our lobbyist meet with lawmakers for us,” said Ward. “Luckily, the issues were simple enough that they could be resolved that way.”
To help the state justify carving out complex rehab from S.B. 1175, TXRPC suggested defining complex rehab equipment using language from two bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would create a separate benefit for the equipment for Medicare. That definition could help lead to separate recognition in Texas, Ward said.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but this is a helpful step—getting a legal definition to use as a springboard,” said Ward.