Buffalo, New York — February 7, 2011

The Separate Benefit Category Steering Committee has released an update to the "Proposal To Create A Separate Benefit Category For Complex Rehab Technology". The January 2011 Proposal incorporates changes made since the issuance of the initial September 2010 Proposal and includes additional supporting exhibits. It provides the background, needed changes, and activities undertaken relating to obtaining a Separate Benefit Category under the Medicare program and will be distributed to members of Congress to support the introduction of needed legislation.

The Separate Benefit Category Steering Committee consists of representatives from six national 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), the Clinician Task Force (CTF), and the United Spinal Association (United Spinal).

The Separate Benefit Category initiative has received the endorsement of the ITEM Coalition, a broad-based consumer-led coalition of over seventy distinct organizations (www.itemcoalition.org). Its membership includes a diverse set of disability organizations, aging organizations, other consumer groups, and voluntary health associations. ITEM's focus is to build support for broad-based legislative and regulatory changes to address the problems of inadequate access to assistive devices, technologies and related services for people with disabilities and chronic conditions of all ages.

The 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 CRT 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.

Complex Rehab Technology products and associated services include medically necessary, individually configured devices that require evaluation, configuration, fitting, adjustment or programming. These products and services are designed to meet the specific and unique medical, physical, and functional needs of an individual with a primary diagnosis resulting from a congenital disorder, progressive or degenerative neuromuscular disease, or from certain types of injury or trauma. CRT includes individually configured manual wheelchair systems, power wheelchair systems, adaptive seating systems, alternative positioning systems and other mobility devices.

The January 2011 "Proposal To Create A Separate Benefit Category For Complex Rehab Technology" can be found and downloaded at the NCART website at www.ncart.us under the News section.

Release Date: 07-Feb-2011