Government Relations

The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has primary responsibility to develop and coordinate RESNA's position on public policy and related activities. The committee plans for, coordinates, and recommends implementation strategies for RESNA's positions on public policy, pertinent regulations, and related activities. 

RESNA is a professional organization made up of volunteers. If you have an interest in participating or working with the government affairs committee please contact the GAC Chair.

Chair:  Nathan Moon

See the May 2016 Government Relations Update

See the March 2016 Government Relations Update

Current Priorities 

S. 800 and HR 1469, The Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act

On March 19, 2015, Senators Mark Kirk (R-Il.) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced “The Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act” (companion bills: S. 800 and H.R. 1469) to improve, coordinate, and enhance medical rehabilitation research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The legislation follows the recommendations of made by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Medical Rehabilitation Research established by NIH in December 2012. Provisions in the bill are designed to enhance coordination within NIH and with other agencies and update and streamline rehabilitation research priorities. The proposed legislation also specifies that the Research Plan must be updated every five years following a scientific conference or workshop; provides for an annual progress report; ties co-funding of medical rehabilitation research projects to the Research Plan, and includes a definition of medical rehabilitation research. RESNA is a member of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition, a group of over 40 agencies supporting the bills. RESNA urges member to contact their Congressional representatives in the Senate and the House to sign on in support of this bipartisan effort. Read the press release.

CRT Accessories Bill (H.R. 3229)

A bill that would provide a technical correction to stop CMS from applying competitive bid pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories has been introduced into the House of Representatives by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY). The bill number is H.R. 3229. Advocates expect the U.S. Senate to begin circulating a sign-on letter asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to rescind this policy. See NCART update

Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technolgoy Act (S. 1013/H.R. 1516)

Support continues to grow for the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act (S. 1013/H.R. 1516), which was re-introduced earlier this year by Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY).  As of this past month, the bill now has more than 120 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 12 in the Senate. RESNA, along with member organizations in the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, is supporting the bill. The bill would create a separate benefit category under Medicare for complex rehabilitation technology (CRT), streamlining access to these individually configured products.

RESNA is part of the CRT Separate Benefit Category Coalition, along with NCART, NRRTS, AA Homecare, United Spinal Association, the Clinician Task Force, and many others.  Visit the coalition website, www.access2crt.org

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This is an international treaty that outlines the obligations of ratifying countries to promote, protect, fulfill and ensure the rights of people with disabilities. President Obama signed the treaty on July 30, 2009, but it requires U.S. Senate ratification. A vote was held on December 4, 2012, but fell five votes short of the necessary 66 (2/3rds of the Senate) required. RESNA released a statement from President Alex Mihailidis, calling the vote "a profound disappointment." Cilck here to read the statement.

Supporters had high hopes for passage during the next Congressional session. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee did hold hearings during November 2014, but it was not brought to a vote. As 2014 ended, so did the chance for ratification.  As of March 2015, the treaty has been ratified by 141 countries. As a result of the midterm elections, it looks like Senate ratification will be on hold indefinitely. 

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities is leading the advocacy campaign supporting the treaty. RESNA continues to work in coalition with this organization and supports ratification. Visit the campaign website to find out how you can help. 

Comments and Support Letters

Comment Letter on Proposed/Draft Local Coverage Determination on Lower Limb Prostheses (DL33787): RESNA joined members of the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition in September 2015 to urge that the LCD be rescinded immediately, citing its immediate negative impact on Medicare beneficiaries with limb amputations. View letter.

Comments to House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education: RESNA signed on to comments submitted in March 2015 by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), urging members to include $38 million in the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations (LHHS) bill for the Assistive Technology (AT) Act Programs. View letter.

Comments on National Coverage Determination (NCD) 50.1: Speech Generating Devices (SGD): RESNA signed on to comments submitted in December 2014 by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in response to a public comment period by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). View letter

Comment Letter on proposed CMS Capped Rental Rule: The Government Affairs Committee recently submitted comments to CMS on a proposed rule that would designate certain complex rehab technologies, including speech-generating devices and power wheelchairs, as capped rentals. Click here to read the letter.

Comment Letter on Social Security Administration (SSA) Rulemaking on Terminology: RESNA signed on to comments submitted in March 2013 by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA now proposes to replace the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability" wherever it appears in the medical listings and in SSA's other rules. In the comments, CCD noted that the "change in terminology is consistent with the widely expressed desire of people with intellectual disability for the use of modern, respectful, language." Click here to read the letter.

RESNA Letter to the Center for Consumer Information & Oversight, CMS: RESNA provided direct comments on the coverage of rehabilitation, habilitation, and devices in all "Essential Health Benefits" plans under health care reform. Click here to read the letter.

Open Letter to States: Technical Assistance for Rehabilitative & Habilitative Services and Devices: The Affordable Care Act (i.e. health care reform) requires the establishment of "Essential Health Benefits." This letter provides technical assistance for states regarding the provision of rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices. RESNA is a member of the Health Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities and provided comments, as well as signing on in support. 

Click here for the Open Letter to States. 

Comment Letter on Essential Health Benefits from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD):  The Affordable Care Act (ACA; i.e., health care reform) requires the U.S. federal government to establish “Essential Health Benefits” under the law. This letter comments on concerns to allow states to develop and choose “benchmark” benefit plans rather than having the federal government develop regulations, provide oversight, and enforce requirements.

 Click here for CCD letter

Comment Letter on Essential Health Benefits from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA):  This comment letter advocates for the importance of including hearing aids as a benefit in the  “Essential Health Benefits” as required under the U.S.  Affordable Care Act (ACA).  RESNA supports hearing health care as a part of the ACA, and that people with hearing loss have access to hearing health care services and hearing aids.

Click here for HLAA letter

Comment letter on the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's (OFCCP) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on compliance with Section 503 of the Rehab Act:  RESNA signed on in support to this Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities letter supporting the U.S. Department of Labor announcement of historic proposed changes to the regulations under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which would improve employment of people with disabilities in the federal contractor sector.  

Click here for CCD Section 503 letter