Chairman Crowley Announces Legislation to Improve Access to Specialized Rehabilitation Technology for Medicare Patients

Jan 30, 2017 Issues: Health Care

(Queens, N.Y.) – Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, announced the reintroduction of the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2017, legislation that ensures patients with severe medical conditions and disabilities have access to the highly specialized medical equipment needed in their day-to-day lives.

The bill establishes a distinct benefit category in Medicare for complex rehabilitation technology (CRT) products, such as specialized power wheelchairs and adaptive seating systems. Allowing for a separate category gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services the ability to better target their payment and coverage policies for complex equipment. Currently, Medicare classifies these specialized products as standard durable medical equipment, which limits access and choice for those individuals who rely on CRT products.

Rep. Crowley joined with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5) to reintroduce this legislation.

“This legislation would guarantee that patients have access to the high-quality products and services they need to lead a more independent life. For those with disabilities and other medical conditions, these complex rehabilitation technology products are necessities,” said Rep. Crowley. “The quality standard and consumer protections included in this bill will also make the Medicare program stronger for all individuals seeking care.”

The bill also helps prevent fraud and abuse by requiring that a licensed physical or occupational therapist evaluates any patient seeking CRT products through Medicare and increases quality standards.