Over 65 organizations and thousands of individuals concerned about Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) came together across the country to participate in National CRT Awareness Week from August 10-14th. Organized by the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART), the purpose of this designated week was to increase the understanding of policymakers and others about what CRT is, who uses it, how it is provided, and why access matters.

Doug Westerdahl, NCART President, noted the ongoing need for this annual event, "Each year CRT Awareness Week gives our industry a chance to spotlight the numerous professions in the CRT industry. CRT providers, manufacturers, and clinicians are operating in a very challenging environment when it comes to providing quality CRT equipment and services to people with disabilities who depend on it, and these challenges have been elevated in the COVID-19 environment. This week provided a great opportunity for spreading that message nationally and continuing to build on everyone's past advocacy work."

Participants in National CRT Awareness Week represented all sectors of the CRT community. That included providers, manufacturers, consumers and consumer organizations, clinicians and clinical organizations, family and caregivers, and other advocates from all over the nation..

NCART Director of Advocacy and Communication Mickae Lee reflected on the week's success, "We are so pleased to have seen this level of involvement from the CRT community. The number of organizations and individuals participating more than doubled from last year, which shows that this group of advocates has seen how powerful grassroots education and outreach can be and that they're ready to do the work needed to secure future successes for CRT access."

August 14th was CRT Advocacy Day and a call to action was circulated to the community asking stakeholders to email their Members in the House Representatives to add their signature to a Congressional letter to CMS. The bipartisan letter is being led by CRT champions Representatives John Larson (D-CT) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY). For people who have not yet participated in this opportunity, they can still email their Members through August 31st using the links and information at www.protectmymobility.org.

The letter urges CMS to "make permanent" the temporary policy change that was included in 2019 year-end legislation regarding Medicare payment amounts for CRT Manual Wheelchair accessories. In 2017 CRT Power Wheelchairs accessories were protected from Competitive Bid Pricing through a CMS policy change. However, that policy change was not extended to accessories used with CRT Manual Wheelchairs. CMS must take the needed policy action to provide permanent equal access to users of either type of CRT Wheelchair.

Don Clayback, NCART Executive Director, said "Getting as many House Members as we can to sign on to this Congressional letter is especially important. The more signatures, the stronger the message to CMS that they need to take action, just like they did for CRT Power Wheelchairs in 2017. We're very thankful to the House Members for writing to ensure people with disabilities have equal access and we thank all our advocates for helping to get their Member's signatures as we move through this month."