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Home News Tennessee Legislature Protects Medicaid Beneficiary Access to Specialized Wheelchairs

                    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Gordon Barnes, gordonb@aahomecare.org, 202.372.0759

Tennessee House and Senate Unanimously Pass Legislation Establishing a Separate Benefit for Complex Rehab Technology Products Provided Through Medicaid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 19, 2019)—The Tennessee State Legislature has enacted legislation establishing “separate benefit” status for a category of specialized power wheelchairs commonly referred to as Complex Rehab Technology (CRT).  The new legislation, which heads to Governor Bill Lee for his approval, will ensure that CRT products receive separate consideration when state Medicaid authorities are proposing adjustments to reimbursement rates or other regulatory changes.  The Tennessee Senate affirmed the bill, HB 647, by a 30-0 margin on March 11, following a unanimous 94-0 vote by the Tennessee House the previous week.

“CRT products are designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with disabilities and profound healthcare challenges, supporting positive health outcomes and providing the independence and self sufficiency that would otherwise be challenging or impossible,” notes Bill Mixon, Chief Executive Officer of National Seating & Mobility, a leading supplier of CRT products throughout the U.S.  “Thanks to this legislation, the individuals and caregivers who depend on CRT can be assured that any budgetary or reimbursement changes covering these essential products will get the special deliberation they deserve.”

The bill has been a 10-month initiative driven by a complex rehabilitation industry coalition including National Seating & Mobility and the American Association Homecare (AAHomecare), who also engaged Bridge Public Affairs to support the effort.

“The overwhelming, bipartisan support this legislation received in both chambers is a testament to leadership of the bill’s primary sponsors, Sen. Bo Watson and Rep. Darren Jernigan,” adds Mixon.  “We also thank TennCare for their support for this policy change.”

AAHomecare provided additional assistance for the advocacy efforts of Tennessee stakeholders by supporting the legislation and plans to partner with suppliers and patient advocates to advance similar initiatives in other states.  The Association and Tennessee CRT suppliers expect to continue working with TennCare to add additional safeguards to CRT access once the legislative session has concluded.

“With a growing number of individuals served by Medicaid programs nationwide, it is increasingly important for the CRT community to work with state legislators and healthcare agencies to ensure sustainable reimbursement rates and sound regulatory policies,” remarked Tom Ryan, AAHomecare President & CEO. “We need to make sure that state policymakers everywhere understand that CRT improves quality of life and clinical outcomes for Medicaid patients, while also saving money by reducing costly hospitalizations, as well as lessening the need for nursing home care and other inpatient stays.”

About National Seating & Mobility

National Seating & Mobility is the nation’s premier Complex Rehab Technology Solutions provider, partnering with physicians, therapists and clients across the U.S. to design customized innovative mobility, rehabilitation and adaptive product solutions for individuals with disabilities. Founded in 1992, the company has grown from five locations to a national network of professional Assistive Technology Providers (ATPs). National Seating & Mobility has earned the highest professional accreditation from the independent, not-for-profit, The Joint Commission. As preeminent accrediting body for U.S. healthcare organizations, The Joint Commission maintains unrivaled industry standards. For more information visit nsm-seating.com.

About The American Association for Homecare

The American Association for Homecare represents durable medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and others in the homecare community that serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen systems, wheelchairs, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, and other medical equipment and services in their homes. Members operate more than 3,000 homecare locations in all 50 states. Learn more at aahomecare.org.

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