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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Action Alert: Protect Access to Specialized Wheelchairs!

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plan to apply competitive bid pricing to Complex Rehab wheelchair accessories beginning January 1, 2016. Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) includes the individually configured wheelchairs and equipment many people with disabilities use, and this change will further already limited access to 171 essential “accessory” codes including seating systems, head rests, tilt and lift, and more.

Earlier this year, 101 Representatives (PDF) and 25 Senators (inaccessible PDF) sent bipartisan letters to CMS requesting that this policy be rescinded. Unfortunately, CMS still plans to move forward with implementation. Unless Congress acts, payment rates will be reduced by 20% to over 40%. Not only does this violate the intent of past Congressional legislation (Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008), but it will significantly decrease the availability of the individually configured wheelchair systems that many people with disabilities rely on.

H.R. 3229 and S. 2196 have been introduced in Congress to provide a legislative “technical correction” to clarify that CMS cannot apply Medicare competitive bidding pricing to the accessories used with complex rehabilitation wheelchairs. This legislation would protect access for the many people who use this technology. However, the legislation must be enacted by December 31, 2015, and Congress needs to hear from their constituents across the nation!

Please take action today!

Step 1: Visit www.protectmymobility.org.

Step 2: Use the “Send Email” link to email your Members. Just supply your address and your Members will be identified. A suggested message is provided that you can send as is or modify.

Step 3: Follow up using the “Make A Call” link using the additional guidelines provided.

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