January 3, 2019

CRT Stakeholders and Friends,

Unfortunately the Senate officially ended its 2018 session this morning without taking any action on H.R. 7217 (the "Improve Act") which included important provisions to protect access to Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) manual wheelchairs. This is disappointing news, but the lack of Senate passage was not due to the CRT provisions.

We were very encouraged on December 11 with the passage of H.R. 7217 in the House by a vote of 400 to 11. But as it then moved to the Senate, it stalled based on concerns from a small number of Senators with one of the other bill provisions regarding Medicaid services for children with complex needs. Since the bill was being handled in the Senate through their expedited "Unanimous Consent" process, the lack of 100% Senate support prevented passage. And while we continued to advocate in the Senate through the holidays, resolving the government shutdown was the primary focus and made things more challenging.

We will build on our progress. Our sincere thanks to House CRT champions Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and John Larson (D-CT) and to Senate CRT Champions Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for their work in getting our provisions included in the year-end bill. We also want to thank all the groups and individuals who advocated on this issue throughout the year.

Getting legislation and policies to protect access to CRT for people with disabilities is not a sprint, it's a marathon. While we did not get final Senate passage this year, the significant progress we made puts us in a strong position for 2019 and served to build up CRT awareness and support that will help us as we work to get a Separate Benefit Category for CRT.

The new two-year Congressional session started this afternoon and we will be developing 2019 plans with our Champions and share them as we move ahead.

Thanks again for your commitment and involvement to protect access to the specialized CRT products and services that people with disabilities depend on.


Don Clayback
Executive Director | NCART
[email protected] | www.ncart.us

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