WASHINGTON – The CRT Congress Virtual Fly-in on September 21 drew 184 attendees and resulted in nearly 230 visits with members of Congress, according to organizers NCART and NRRTS.
This year’s virtual format offered a number of benefits, they say, including the ability to “show” members of Congress and their staff complex rehabilitation equipment, said Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS.
âIn my group from Georgia, we had a therapist from the Clinician Task Force and Shepherd Center, Tori Dean, who actually had an electric chair with a seat lift / support feature with her so she could do a demonstration on Zoom, âshe said. âIt was great. It was a lot easier than trying to explain why this technology is important. They all said, ‘Oh yeah, I get it.’ ”
On the agenda for the event, members of Congress were asked to support the establishment of Medicare coverage for power seat lift and stand systems. Stakeholders are waiting for CMS to solicit public comments on a request to reconsider the determination of national coverage for mobility assistance equipment to include the technology.
Another benefit of a virtual event was the ability to answer questions and provide updates more quickly, says Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. One of those updates: a congressional opening letter asking CMS to act on the electric seat elevation and standing systems. At the time of going to press, the event had helped push the number of signatures for the letter to 43.
“We are pleased that Reps Jim Langevin, DR.I., and Don Young, R-Alaska, were able to change this quickly,” Clayback said. âIt was finalized on Monday and we were able to discuss it with members of Congress on Tuesday. ”
As for the other two agenda items – increasing reimbursement to cover increased costs and establishing physiotherapists and occupational therapists as permanent telehealth practitioners – stakeholders are monitoring any developing legislation that could help them achieve. those goals, Clayback said.
âThere is a lot of talk around telehealth and the feeling is that Congress will definitely do something about it this year, but the devil is in the details,â he said. âWe have to make sure that this matches our specific request for PTs and TOs. “