Moving the HME Industry Forward


CRT Accessories Legislation Introduced With Strong Bipartisan Support

March 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Legislation to prevent the application of bidding-derived pricing for CRT accessories was introduced in the Senate and House last week. The Senate bill, S. 486, introduced by lead sponsors Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Bob Casey (D-Pa), and its House companion, H.R. 1361, introduced by Reps Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and John Larson (D-Conn) both show strong bipartisan support from initial co-sponsors.

The legislation is needed on account of CMS’ attempt to apply competitive bid program pricing to CRT accessories effective January 1, 2016.  Congress has twice passed legislation to delay this measure, most recently through provisions in the CURES bill that hold off bidding-derived rates until July 1, 2017.

“CRT providers need a permanent fix that will ensure that they can continue to support individuals with serious disabilities that depend on this specialized equipment,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare.  “If bidding-derived pricing is allowed to slash reimbursement rates, these companies simply can’t provide the level of clinical care associated with CRT products and accessories, including patient evaluation, as well as configuration, fitting, and adjustments for the equipment.”

“After two timely delays, rehab providers are finally at a critical juncture where the ill-conceived proposed cuts to 171 CRT accessory codes can be put to rest,” said Georgie Blackburn, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs for BLACKBURN’S. “Plain and simple, MIPPA 2008 exempted CRT power chairs and accessories from the bid program.”

“I’m thrilled to see that we have congressional leadership recognizing this, resulting in S.486 and H.R. 1361, and that we now have Secretary Tom Price leading HHS,” added Blackburn, who also serves as a member of AAHomecare’s Complex Rehab & Mobility Council (CRMC).  “I have never felt so optimistic that logic will prevail when it comes to public policy for CRT!”

“Without adequate funding, suppliers won’t be able to provide these very specialized products that  are essential to allow patients to stay in their homes, which is both their preferred outcome as well the cost-effective place for them to be,” said Jody Wright, president of Rocky Mountain Medical Supply and CRMC member.  “I hope that companies in the CRT space will reach out to their Senators and Representative and ask for their support for this much-needed legislation.”

In addition to showing bipartisan support, the committees of jurisdiction covering healthcare-related legislation are well-represented by current co-sponsors:

• S. 486 – 5 Republican co-sponsors, 4 Democrat co-sponsors – 4 cosponsors are members of the Senate Finance Committee
• H.R. 1361 – 12 Democrat co-sponsors, 10 Republican co-sponsors – 8 co-sponsors are members of the House Ways & Means Committee and 4 co-sponsors are members of the Energy & Commerce Committee.

See our issue brief on CRT accessories legislation for more information.

AAHomecare and NEMEP Limit Incontinence Cuts
WASHINGTON, DC – As previously reported, AAHomecare has been working with Northeast Medical Equipment Providers Association (NEMEP) on discussions with the NY Dept. of Health on their proposed rate reductions for incontinence products for the Medicaid population.  A delay was announced two weeks ago so that the Department could review the cost study information provided by AAHomecare and NEMEP.  The Dept. of Health had previously proposed a reduction of approximately 30% for incontinence supplies depending on the product. After reviewing the information provided by AAHomecare and NEMEP, the Department instead announced an average reduction of approximately 20% to go into effect on April 3, 2017.

AAHomecare and NEMEP will be providing further information to the Department for further review to continue to advocate for fair reimbursement rates.