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Big Win for Medicare Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) Users

August 10, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that they are changing their policy to permanently exclude Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) manual wheelchair accessories from the competitive bidding system thought to cause barriers in access for some Medicare beneficiaries. This change has been an advocacy priority of the National MS Society and our many partners in the disability community for several years. CMS had previously exempted all CRT power wheelchair accessories from the same cuts, and Congress and the agency had instituted several temporary suspensions of the cuts for manual accessories. The new permanent policy was issued as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System final rule, which also included several DMEPOS policies. 

The new rule is a huge victory for all CRT users – including people living with MS who may rely on assistive technology and/or medical equipment including wheelchairs to remain healthy, independent and active. Many times, CRT products have “accessories”—such as tilt-and-recline systems and customized seat cushions—that make the chair usable and beneficial. 

For additional details, CMS’ fact sheet on the rule can be found here.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

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