Earlier this year, the National MS Society participated in a national call-in day in support of HR 942, a bill that would make Complex Rehab Technology a separate benefit under Medicare. As it stands, Complex Rehab Technology falls under the Medicare category of durable medical equipment (DME) which was created over forty years ago to address the need of elderly individuals.
Durable medical equipment is equipment appropriate for use in the home which is built to withstand repeated use and is not typically useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury. Some examples include canes, crutches, and hospital beds.
Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) is defined as medically necessary, individually configured devices that require evaluation, fitting, configuration, adjustment or programming to meet the needs of individuals with a primary diagnoses resulting from a congenital disorder, progressive or degenerative neuromuscular disease, or from an injury or trauma. Common examples include wheelchairs, power wheelchair systems, adaptive seating and other mobility devices.
HR 942 - Cosponsored by Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) - would provide adequate access and supporting services for individuals who require CRT devices. The bill would establish conditions for coverage that ensure CRT items are being prescribed appropriately. CRT would be exempt from the “in-the-home” restriction placed on durable medical equipment. Quality standards for suppliers of CRT items would be increased above current DME standards. Suppliers would have to be accredited by an independent organization and maintain the resources and staff to provide appropriate customization of CRT.
The bill currently has 87 cosponsors in the house and has been referred to committee. Over 40 consumer and clinical organizations including the NMSS support HR 942.