This is where the staff of the Reeve Foundation is sharing up-to-the-minute information and putting some context around the news affecting the spinal cord injury and paralysis community. Not to mention insight into what's going on here at the Foundation.
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Today is a National Call-In Day for Complex Rehab Technology (CRT).
Have you called your Senators or Congressional office? I called during my lunch break and asked my member of Congress to support legislation to establish a separate benefit category for CRT under Medicare Durable Medical Equipment (DME) benefit.
Medicare’s DME benefit was drafted over 40 years ago, well before the advances in technology. Over the years, durable medical equipment (DME) has become customized and unique to the user and specific disability. The Medicare guidelines have not changed with technology. Currently CRT falls into the same category as crutches, canes, and walkers. By creating a separate category under Medicare for CRT, the specific and unique equipment needs of individuals with disabilities can be met. This will account for only 7% of all equipment needs.
Why should you call? The reasons are numerous. Medicare guidelines apply to most private insurance companies as well as Medicaid, not just to Medicare beneficiaries. Currently complex rehab technology (CRT) falls under Medicare’s “In the home” restriction. “In the home” restrictions means that the equipment needs to be for use and benefit in your home. If a particular piece of equipment would allow you to go to school, work or function independently in the community—it is NOT covered. I had power assist wheels denied because Medicare guidelines say I must “be unsuccessful” for one year with a standard manual chair. My seating clinic documented how the wheels assisted me with my employment and my insurance called my employment a “convenience and not a necessity”.
What should you ask for? Request that your Senators and Congressional member support a separate category for Complex Medical Technology (CMT). Let them know what equipment you use, need and any obstacles you have had in getting it funded. If you have private insurance, let them know that your insurance follows Medicare’s antiquated guidelines. Before you hang up, please be sure to give your full name, address and stress that you are a constituent.
Is today the last day to call? No, you can call at any time but this week is important. Other disability advocates are personally visiting their Congressional offices on Thursday, April 19th to meet with Congressional staff. Please call and let your voice be heard. I know I was told today that others had called.
Lend your voice and make a difference.
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