Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shilo & Melissa Return to D.C. to fight for Complex Rehab Technology for the Third Year

Melissa and Shilo with Senator Jeff Merkley OR-D May 1, 2014.

Melissa discusses S.B. 948 separating CRT from standard DME equipment ensuring access to it for those who need it.

Complex Rehabilitation technology is not a well known term, but this type of equipment is describes means the difference between a life of capabilities and participation versus one of infirmity, limitation and seclusion. Myself and many of my fellow members of the disability community benefit from the precise fit and functions found within durable medical equipment including manual and power wheelchairs, cushions, and standing frames which allow us to adapt to our disabilities allowing for full lives with school, work, family and friends. However, obtaining such appropriate equipment is no simple task under the current classifications under Medicare which current define a wheelchair such as the heavy aluminum, one size fits most, with no cushioning meant for short trips indoors the same as a light weight, individually fitted/built, with pressure reducing cushioning meant for full day use on all terrains as tacitly the same thing when it plain to everyone that these two things are worlds apart.
In April, Shilo and I returned to our nation's capitol for the third year running to educate Congress that all wheelchairs are not the same and the wheelchairs meeting the definition complex rehabilitation technology need to be in a separate category for standard, assembly line durable medical with H.B. 942 and S.B. 948. Shilo and I spent a whirlwind three days in Washington D.C. working with other advocates with disabilities, their families, and professionals in the complex rehabilitation technology industry who are members of the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) and National Coalition of Assistive and Rehab Technology ( NCART) to move these two bills through their respective houses of congress gaining enough signatures of support to get each bill scored by the Office of Congressional Budgeting (OCB), so that it might actually have a chance to reach the floors for formal discussions and voting. Shilo and I took eight meetings on the hill: five within my home state of Oregon and three in other states who did not have a consumer advocate to tell the story of what these bills mean in terms of real lives beginning at 7:00a.m. and ending at 5:00pm. A schedule I would have no chance of accomplishing without both my powered wheelchair and Shilo's ever ready assistance. Hill day followed a 10 hour day of  policy briefings, updates, trainings and planning for hill meetings with state teams.Certainly not a typical way to spend one's vacation from work, but one I intend to keep up until congress understands and enact these bills to ensure people have access to medically necessary and appropriate CRT for their lives and health.
Shilo meets the Senator!

More Information on Access to CRT
  2. Co-Sponsors listed by state
 Don't miss National CRT Week August 18th-22nd!