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Congress throws support behind power standing systems

Congress throws support behind power standing systems

WASHINGTON – Complex rehab stakeholders now also have a sign-on letter circulating in the Senate asking CMS to open a public comment period for power standing systems. 

The three senators spearheading the letter – Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Bob Casey, D-Pa. – have supported efforts to move forward with Medicare coverage for these systems in the past, but they did so individually. 

“They’re stepping it up with this group letter,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “It’s a showing of not only their continued support but also their increasing support.” 

CMS on Aug. 15 opened a 30-day comment period for the request to reconsider the NCD for mobility assistive equipment for power seat elevation but not for power standing systems. The agency closed the comment period on Sept. 14. 

The letter in the Senate began circulating about a week after the NCART/NRRTS Virtual Congressional Fly-in on Sept. 14. During the fly-in, stakeholders talked up a similar letter just starting to circulate in the House of Representatives spearheaded by Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and John Rose, R-Tenn. 

“We were very appreciative of the timing of Reps. Langevin and Fitzpatrick getting their letter out the day before the fly-in,” Clayback said. “It was a great talking point, and we were able to have a hard copy of it.” 

The letter in the Senate gives the 300-plus stakeholders who participated in the fly-in the perfect reason to follow up with senators. 

“The follow up is always the hard part,” said Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS. “They’re on a high the day-of the fly-in, but then it’s hard to keep connecting and keep bugging. This is a great motivation.” 

CMS’s arguably slow process of approving coverage for power seat elevation and power standing systems is not lost on members of Congress and their staffs. 

“When we gave the reps that we met with the background of how CMS has held on to this for two years before even opening a public comment, even for one category – it was eye opening for them,” Walker said. “We made sure to make that point in every meeting.” 

The deadline for collecting signatures for the Senate letter is Sept. 30. The deadline for the House letter is Oct. 3.


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