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CRT Fly-in sets stage for ‘gotcha moment’

CRT Fly-in sets stage for ‘gotcha moment’

Mickae LeeWASHINGTON – NCART will once again hold its CRT Congressional Fly-in virtually this year to maximize participation, but it will also host a CRT Congressional Product Expo in-person at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill. 

NCART hasn’t hosted a product expo on Capitol Hill since before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We want to have manufacturers come in, as well as ATPs and therapists, to give lawmakers a sense of all the different equipment that is out there and how it lets people with disabilities live their best life,” said Wayne Grau, executive director of NCART. “It’s not just power wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs – it’s power seat elevation, power standing, adaptive equipment and standers. We want to fill that room up.” 

All are welcome to participate in the virtual congressional visits on Sept. 13 free of charge. The product expo will take place Sept. 14 on an invite-only basis. 

“To fill the room up” NCART will use the visits, in part, to invite lawmakers and their staff to attend the expo the next day, with a special emphasis on those who sit on committees of jurisdiction like the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives. 

“We’ll be able to say, ‘We’d appreciate it if you stopped by and take a look,’” Grau said. “What we really want to do is have them sit in the equipment and try it out. When you put someone in a composite chair vs. a standard chair, they get it immediately. It’s that gotcha moment that we need, where they say, ‘Now I understand.’” 

That deeper level of understanding of the equipment will help lawmakers and their staff better put into focus the various “asks” and talking points, including securing coverage for power standing systems and providing relief related to repair issues. 

“We’ll be able to have additional conversations on the heels of the meetings on the 13th, illustrating and highlighting the requests that we’ve made,” said Mickae Lee, associate director of NCART. 

Those who participate in the congressional visits on the 13th will be well versed in those “asks” and talking points. Working again with Advocacy Associates, NCART will host a webinar prior to the visits to help them prepare, provide videos that they can share with lawmakers and match attendees with a point person, so they feel comfortable. 

“Last year, we conducted more than 300 meetings,” Lee said. “We’d like to beat that, but our goal is always just to build relationships with as many offices as possible.”

Register for the fly-in here.


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