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Larson Applauds Passage of Bill to Protect Patient Access to Complex Rehabilitation Technologies (CRT)

December 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) applauded the inclusion of his Protecting Access to Wheelchairs Act (H.R. 2293) in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. His bill passed the Ways and Means Committee earlier this year as part of the HEARTS and Rural Relief Act (H.R. 3429) and a similar version passed the House last year.

“I am thrilled that the Protecting Access to Wheelchairs Act passed the House with bipartisan support. This legislation will help companies, like Rocky Hill’s, Numotion, provide people suffering from degenerative diseases like ALS or who have become paralyzed with the needed equipment to provide them with the tools to live their lives with maximum mobility and independence. Earlier this year, Todd Johnson, a constituent from Portland visited my office. He uses a specially designed wheelchair since an accident at age 22 left him with a spinal cord injury. This bill will help people like Todd have access to equipment they need to live their lives independently and with dignity. I’m glad that this legislation will finally be signed into law,” said Larson.

Background on the CRT Issue:

In 2008, Congress passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), which excluded Complex Rehabilitation Technologies (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 multiple times by Congress through legislation, but only temporarily.

Reps. Larson and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) introduced H.R. 1361 (an earlier iteration of H.R. 2293) to protect CRT wheelchair accessories (power or manual) from having their reimbursement rates reduced. On July 23, 2017, CMS agreed to make the changes the Zeldin/Larson bill called for, but only for CRT power wheelchair accessories.

Therefore, the members introduced H.R. 2293 to protect reimbursement rates and patients’ continued access to CRT manual wheelchair accessories. These efforts have also been supported by the ALS Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Paralyzed Veterans of America, VetsFirst, and the United Spinal Association.