United Spinal Association and its members received a huge legislative win that protects access to complex power wheelchair components such as seat cushions, specialty hand controls, tilt-recline features that many people with spinal cord injuries and diseases (SCI/D) rely on to live independently.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will not be applying Medicare Competitive Bid Program (CBP) information to reduce payment rates for Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) Group 3 power wheelchair components. This avoids drastic reductions in access to this specialized equipment that were to go in effect July 1st. Unfortunately, there was no change in payment rates for components used with CRT manual wheelchairs. United Spinal continues to work with Congress and CMS to protect access to CRT manual components.

For years, United Spinal has been a driving force in the fight to ensure people with SCI/D have greater choices when it comes to complex rehab technology, or medically necessary individually configured manual and power wheelchair systems and other mobility devices that require evaluation, fitting, design, adjustment and programming.

United Spinal advocates attending Roll on Capitol Hill met with their congressional reps to discuss just how important their power wheelchairs are to living independently and pursuing their personal and professional goals.

United Spinal advocates attending Roll on Capitol Hill met with their congressional reps to discuss just how important their power wheelchairs are to living independently and pursuing their personal and professional goals.

CRT is important because it’s designed to meet the specific and unique medical and functional needs of each individual. Without the right equipment, people with disabilities are unable to be productive members of their communities, or perform basic daily tasks many take for granted.

One size does not fit all when it comes to wheelchairs and other specialized equipment. The wrong wheelchair may not only lead to less independence but also institutionalized care and serious health complications, like pressure sores.

It’s a point United Spinal emphasized earlier this month during the organization’s 6th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill, a legislative advocacy event that gives its members the opportunity to meet with key congressional leaders to address a variety of important policy issues, including access to CRT. Roll on Capitol Hill attendees spent time discussing face-to-face with their representatives just how vital their wheelchairs and mobility equipment is to their quality of life.

Each one of these advocates helped bring this win home! Your voice was finally heard on CRT!

United Spinal would also like to thank all Members of Congress who supported this issue and who played a role in this victory, including HHS Secretary Tom Price, CMS Administrator Seema Verma and CRT Champions Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and John Larson (D-CT). Additional thanks to the leadership and staff of the Senate Finance, House Energy & Commerce, and House Ways & Means Committees and to stakeholders across the CRT community, other disability advocacy organizations, clinicians, providers and manufacturers.