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Larson Applauds CMS Decision to Ensure Patient Access to Complex Rehabilitation Technology For Those With Disabilities

June 27, 2017
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) joined the disability community in applauding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) decision to exclude Complex Rehabilitation Technologies (CRT) power wheelchairs accessories from the competitive bidding programs. CMS’ original decision to reduce payments for CRT wheelchair accessories would have harmed patients with severe disabilities due to ALS, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating illnesses or injuries. Larson is a lead sponsor of H.R. 1361, which would help protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to specialized, medically-necessary wheelchair accessories.


“I’d like to thank my colleague and friend, Rep. Lee Zeldin, for working with me to introduce H.R. 1361, in order to protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to Complex Rehab Technologies that allow men and women living with severe disabilities to go through their daily lives with the maximum independence and mobility that today’s customized wheelchairs and accessories allow. I am glad that CMS has listened to the voices of patients, advocates, and Members of Congress who have urged them to take action. After many years of working to avert these significant cuts, we are happy to see this become a reality,” said Larson.


Background: In 2008, Congress passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), which excluded CRT wheelchairs and accessories from the CMS’ competitive bid process. In November 2014, CMS issued a rule that ignored Congressional intent and would have reduced payments and harmed patient access to CRT wheelchair accessories. This rule was delayed twice by Congress through legislation, with the most recent delay set to expire on June 30th, 2017. The Zeldin/Larson bill (H.R. 1361) would have protected CRT wheelchairs and accessories from having their reimbursement rates reduced due to the competitive bidding process, and is endorsed by the ALS Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Paralyzed Veterans of America, VetsFirst, and the United Spinal Association.


While CMS’ decision only applied to CRT power wheelchair accessories, Rep. Larson also supports the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2017 (H.R. 750) that would recognize CRT power and manual wheelchairs and accessories as a separate benefit category under Medicare.