Successful CRT Congressional Briefing Held July 15, 2013

A very successful Congressional Briefing on Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) and the related Medicare Separate Benefit Category legislation was held in Washington, D.C. on July 15th. The briefing was entitled "Enabling Independence for People with Disabilities: the Importance of Complex Rehab Technology" and was co-hosted by the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and the offices of Representatives Joe Crowley and Jim Sensenbrenner. There were approximately 100 people in attendance with 71 Congressional offices represented (57 House offices and 14 Senate offices).

The one-hour program opened with a welcome from Todd Adams, Representative Jim Langevin's Legislative Director, introducing the topic on behalf of the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus. Don Clayback, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, followed by providing an overview of CRT covering what it is, who uses it, the benefits, how it's provided, and the access challenges that exist.

Paul Tobin, President of United Spinal Association, then reviewed the important role CRT plays in the lives of people with disabilities including how it assists in maximizing function and independence, how it reduces healthcare costs, how it enables people to fully access their communities and engage in education, employment, and other activities of living. Adam Lloyd, a college professor from Maryland (who uses a power wheelchair and chin control), then told his personal story and how important CRT has been in the aspects of his life: his education, his employment, his quality of life, and the management of his healthcare.

Mr. Tobin and Mr. Clayback then reviewed the key aspects of the "Ensuring Access To Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act" (H.R. 942 and S. 948), and fielded a variety of questions. The attendees were very attentive and we had a solid 15 minutes of questions and answers. To wrap up, Nicole Cohen, Representative Crowley's Legislative Assistant, and Kara Webster, Representative Sensenbrenner's Legislative Assistant, spoke on the need for additional co-sponsors and encouraged attendees to talk to their "bosses" about becoming a co-sponsor to the CRT legislation.

The forum provided a great CRT educational opportunity. Of the 71 Congressional offices in attendance, only 17 had already signed on to H.R. 942 or S. 948 to date. That meant 54 Member offices now know more about CRT and can be asked to become co-sponsors. The related follow-up is underway to secure additional Congressional support for the CRT legislation.

Release Date: 16-Jul-2013