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Stakeholders make case for complex rehab

Stakeholders make case for complex rehab

Weesie WalkerWASHINGTON – The Virtual CRT Congressional Fly-in on Sept. 21 drew 184 attendees and resulted in nearly 230 visits with members of Congress, according to organizers NCART and NRRTS. 

This year’s virtual format offered a number of benefits, they say, including the ability to “show” members of Congress and their staff complex rehab equipment, says Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS. 

“In my group from Georgia, we had a therapist from the Clinician Task Force and the Shepherd Center, Tori Dean, who actually had a power chair with a seat elevation/stand feature with her so she could demo over Zoom,” she said. “That was awesome. It was a lot easier than trying to explain why that technology is important. They all went, ‘Oh yeah, I understand.’” 

On the agenda for the event was asking members of Congress to support establishing Medicare coverage for power seat elevation and power standing systems. Stakeholders are waiting for CMS to seek public comments on a request to reconsider the national coverage determination for mobility assistive equipment to include the technology. 

Another benefit of a virtual event was the ability to answer questions and offer updates more quickly, says Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. One of those updates: A breaking congressional sign-on letter asking CMS to act on power seat elevation and power standing systems. At press time, the event had helped to push the number of signatures for the letter to 43. 

“We’re happy that Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and Don Young, R-Alaska, were able to turn that around quickly,” Clayback said. “It was finalized on Monday and we were able to talk about it with members of Congress on Tuesday.” 

As for the other two items on the agenda – increasing reimbursement to cover increased costs and establishing physical therapists and occupational therapists as permanent telehealth practitioners – stakeholders are monitoring any developing legislation that could help them advance those goals, Clayback said. 

“There are a lot of conversations around telehealth and the sense is Congress will definitely do something around that this year, but the devil is in the details,” he said. “We need to make sure it relates to our specific request around PTs and OTs.”


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