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Separate benefit takes top priority

Separate benefit takes top priority Event also covers managed care, difficult situations, new normal

Don ClaybackARLINGTON, Va. - A separate benefit for complex rehab technology will be the top talking point during the Capitol Hill visits at the upcoming Access2CRT Summit, now that Congress has addressed the accessories issue.

Congress passed and the president signed a bill in late December that, among other things, required CMS to stop applying competitive bidding pricing to accessories for complex manual wheelchairs for 18 months, starting Jan. 1.

“It's good to get that out of the way and focus on other priorities,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, which will co-host the event with NRRTS at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on March 30-31.

The bill also adds complex manual wheelchair bases and accessories to the complex rehab carve-out from the bid program that went into effect in 2008.

There is already a bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2408, introduced by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., on April 30, that would create targeted coverage and payment policies for complex rehab technology. The Senate, however, is still a work in progress, Clayback says.

“We don't have champions yet, but we have a couple of offices that we're talking to,” he said. “So the focus will be building co-sponsors around the House bill and having discussions around a Senate bill.”

Stakeholders first got a bill introduced to create a separate benefit back in 2011.

NCART and NRRTS have also fleshed out the educational program for the event, which will cover “hot topics” like “Managing managed care” and “Dealing with Difficult CRT Situations.”

“You have to have tough conversations to make people understand what's gong on and what's the best way to handle it,” said Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS. “When the supplier is trying to explain an access issue, for example, it's easier to blame the issue on the supplier and not the policy.”

As has become custom, the event will also have a keynote session given by a wheelchair user, this year Richard Corbett, who will talk about adapting to a “new normal” after experiencing a significant injury. Corbett has a popular video channel called “Wheels2Walking.”

“We feel this has broad application,” Clayback said. “He realized, 'Hey, this is just the new version of my life,' and he's done some impressive things.”


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