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Larson’s Bills to Protect Patient Access to Complex Rehabilitation Technologies (CRT) and Ambulatory Surgical Centers Passes Committee

June 26, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. John Larson (CT-01) released the following statement, after the Ways and Means Committee favorably reported the HEARTS and Rural Relief Act (H.R. 3429) which included Larson’s bill, Protecting Access to Wheelchairs Act (H.R. 2293). Larson’s bill would help protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to specialized, medically-necessary wheelchair accessories by restoring appropriate payment rates to the businesses that supply CRT manual wheelchair accessories. The bill passed the House last year. The bill’s Republican co-lead is Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York. H.R. 3429 also included provisions from Larson’s the Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Transparency Act.

Click here to view Larson’s remarks.

“I am thrilled that the HEARTS and Rural Relief Act was reported favorably with overwhelming 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. Todd Johnson from Portland visited my office just yesterday. 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 want to thank Rep. Zeldin for all of his hard work and we look forward to its passage in the House,” said Larson.

“I am also pleased that this bill includes provisions from my bipartisan bill introduced with Rep. Nunes, the Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Transparency Act. Connecticut has almost 50 Ambulatory Surgical Centers, with 12 centers located in my district. This bill will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to care in ASCs, and that taxpayers’ and seniors’ dollars are spent wisely.”

Background on the CRT Issue:

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 multiple times by Congress through legislation, but only temporarily.

Reps. Larson and Zeldin 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.