U.S. Congress Passes Bill to Allow More Technology for Disabled Individuals

The following is a portion of a new bill that recently was passed by the U.S. congress to allow more access to rehabilitation devices through Medicare.

A BILL

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage and payment for complex rehabilitation technology items under the Medicare program.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2012’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Individuals with disabilities and significant medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and Spina Bifida experience physical, functional, and cognitive challenges every day.

(2) Complex rehabilitation technology items (CRT items), including products such as complex rehabilitation power wheelchairs, highly configurable manual wheelchairs, adaptive seating and positioning systems, and other specialized equipment, such as standing frames and gait trainers, enable individuals to maximize their function and minimize the extent and costs of their medical care.

(3) Access to CRT items and related services can be threatened by inadequate coding, coverage, and payment policies for such items and services. These policies have restricted access to existing complex rehabilitation technology and stifled innovation. Access challenges have increased over the past several years and, without meaningful change to these policies, will only become greater in the future.

(4) Current Medicare policies often fail to adequately address the needs of individuals with disabilities, to consider the range of services furnished by complex rehabilitation technology suppliers, and to recognize and account for the complexity and unique nature of the equipment itself.

(5) A significant factor responsible for such access challenges is that individually-configurable CRT items do not have a distinct payment category under the Medicare program, but instead are classified within the broad category of durable medical equipment (DME). CRT items serve patients with serious medical conditions that require a broader range of services and specialized personnel than what is required for standard DME. Customizable CRT items also require more resources in the areas configuring, training, and education to ensure appropriate use and to optimize results.

(6) Unlike most DME, a medical model incorporating an interdisciplinary team approach is necessary to ensure proper customization and use of a CRT item. This team typically includes a physician, a licensed physical or licensed occupational therapist (with no financial relationship with the CRT supplier), a qualified CRT professional, the individual using such item, and sometimes a caregiver for such individual.

(7) The Medicare program should recognize the specialized nature of the CRT service delivery model, the required supporting processes and technology-related CRT services, the credentials and competencies needed by the providing suppliers and critical staff, and the related costs involved. A separate benefit category for CRT items would allow for unique coding, coverage, and payment rules and policies that address the unique needs of persons with disabilities and acknowledge the extensive service component.

The TUTOR system is one of the most cost effective and useful physical therapy  products now being used successfully in leading U.S. and European rehabilitation hospitals and clinics. Fully certified by the FDA and CE the devices are known as the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR. These products are ergonomic gloves and braces that are connected to custom made  powerful software that givers the therapist objective and quantitative information on the patient’s functional impairment. The information is then recorded and allows the therapist to fully customize the treatment session. The treatment consists of intensive customized exercises with augmented feedback leading to enhanced functional rehabilitation.

The TUTOR system is available for children and adults and can be used at the patient’s home, if necessary, through tele rehabilitation. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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One response to this post.

  1. This is great news for physical therapy assistants and physical therapy aides!

    Reply

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