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Maintaining Mobility and Independence with HR 3730

Home Blog Maintaining Mobility and Independence with HR 3730

May is National Mobility Awareness Month, and People for Quality Care is grateful for the advances in technology that help people with mobility-related disabilities like multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord or brain injuries. These advancements include highly customized and individually configured complex rehab technology (CRT), which allows individuals with complex mobility needs to keep their independence at home and stay involved in their communities.

The problem is not everyone who needs it has access to it. So, we wanted to take an opportunity this month to talk about CRT and what we all can do to make sure everyone has access to the freedom of mobility.

What is Complex Rehab Technology?

CRT, widely speaking, consists of medically necessary products and services that help individuals with high-level, significant disabilities achieve greater mobility and better health.

Some of the products and services defined as CRT include manual (i.e., self-propelled) and power wheelchairs, along with their customized components such as seating and positioning systems, sip-and-puff interfaces, head support systems, and specialized seat cushions. These components are an integral part of the wheelchair and essential to make it usable for the individual. CRT also includes other equipment like standing devices and gait trainers.

When it comes to CRT, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. CRT manual and power wheelchairs are fundamentally different from standard wheelchairs and are highly customized to each individual because everyone has different needs. Even people with the same disability may have drastically different needs based on the other factors like their home environment.

Limiting Mobility

Under Medicare, CRT is considered durable medical equipment (DME). As such, when Medicare applied the same pricing schedule from its controversial DME auction program (competitive bidding) from standard wheelchair components to CRT components, it effectively slashed funding for CRT.

We’ve written in the past about how many other DME users are finding it difficult to get the equipment they need under the competitive bidding program. People with mobility-related disabilities and chronic conditions are now facing the same lack of access.

Going in the Right Direction

Due to overwhelming public outcry, Medicare responded in 2017 by exempting the components used in CRT power chairs. This provided much-needed relief for those who use a CRT power chair as they regained access to the equipment and components that keeps them moving.

However, Medicare did not adjust funding for the components related to CRT manual wheelchairs, creating continued hardship for those who rely on them. As we mentioned before, everyone has different needs. Not everyone needs a CRT power chair. But, everyone deserves their mobility. Everyone deserves their independence.

Moving Forward

People for Quality Care believes everyone who requires these customized devices should have equal access, whether they use a power chair or manual wheelchair, and we support legislation that would require Medicare to exempt manual CRT components from auction pricing. So, let’s work together to provide greater access to everyone who needs it.

If you or a loved one uses a high-end CRT wheelchair, we encourage you to contact your member of Congress to ask for their support for HR 3730, which will exempt the manual CRT components from auction pricing to be consistent with how power components are excluded.

Call People for Quality Care at 800-404-8702 for more information or to get help contacting your member of Congress.


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