For Immediate Release, Contact: Don Clayback, Executive Director, 716-839-9728 or [email protected]

Buffalo, New York — March 4, 2010

Today, the Separate Benefit Steering Committee released a Discussion Paper entitled "A Starting Point for Obtaining a Separate Benefit for Complex Rehab Technology". This Discussion Paper is designed to allow individuals and organizations within the Complex Rehab Technology industry and profession, along with other interested parties, to engage in more detailed discussions regarding the pursuit of a Separate Benefit under the Medicare program, the related elements of implementation, and its potential impact on stakeholders.

Gary Gilberti, NCART President, said, "This is a significant first step in creating greater awareness and dialogue around securing a Separate Benefit for Complex Rehab Technology. The Separate Benefit is a major undertaking, but something major is needed to protect the availability of these products and services to people that use them every day of their lives. With this document, we can now have the necessary stakeholder discussions with other individuals and groups to develop the plans and actions required".

The Separate Benefit initiative is in response to the significant challenges that threaten access to Complex Rehab Technology products and the supporting services used by individuals with significant disabilities and medical conditions. These individuals deal with physical, functional and cognitive challenges every day and utilize Complex Rehab Technology to maximize their function and minimize the extent and costs of their medical care. Threats to these products and services stem from coding, coverage, and payment problems. These challenges have increased over the past several years and, without meaningful change to these policies, will only become greater in the future.

Don Clayback, NCART Executive Director, stated, "This Discussion Paper is the culmination of several months of focused efforts from a twenty-person work group. But it is only the beginning. It provides an excellent initial outline of the changes needed that can now be shared for comment. We look forward to broader conversations and involvement from the consumer community, the clinician community, suppliers, and manufacturers regarding what additional fixes and changes are needed."

The Separate Benefit Steering Committee currently consists of representatives from five organizations: the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART), the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare); the National Registry of Rehab Technology Suppliers (NRRTS), the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA), and the Clinician Task Force (CTF). Additional positions on the Steering Committee will be filled by representatives from the consumer and clinician community.

The Discussion Paper can be found at the NCART website at under the News page.

Release Date: 04-Mar-2010