March 2016 Government Relations Update

RESNA's Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has primary responsibility to develop and coordinate RESNA's position on public policy and related activities. For more information about the committee and RESNA's public policy priorities, visit the Government Relations webpage

President's FY 2017 Budget Request

On February 9, 2016, President Obama unveiled his FY2017 budget request to Congress. In particular, the President's budget for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) maintains the increases received in FY2016, and it continues to focus on sustaining core programs to promote scientific research, independence, productivity, and community integration for all people with disabilities. Funding for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILIRR) remains level in the budget, but State Assistive Technology Programs are proposed to be cut by $2 million.  Other programs such as the Lifespan Respite Care Act and the Aging and Disability Resource Centers are proposed to receive modest increases. Overall, the Budget proposes $82.8 billion in discretionary budget authority. Read the President’s proposed HHS budget.
 

Claims Procedure for Plans Providing Disability Benefits 80 Fed. Reg. 72014 

In January, members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, including RESNA, sent a letter to the Assistant Secretary with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, United States Department of Labor, commenting on claim procedures for disability plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. Specifically, the letter supports updating claims procedures that clarify the responsibilities of insurers to provide adequate notice of claim denials and full and fair reviews of denial appeals as is required under section 503 of ERISA. Link to CCD ERISA letter
 

National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC), of which RESNA is a member, signed on to a letter to Administration for Community Living (ACL) commenting on the proposed rule entitled, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). This proposed rule, which is a result of the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014,  would reflect the transfer of the NIDILRR from the Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in which ACL resides. In addition, the rulemaking will consolidate the NIDILRR regulations into a single part, align the regulations with the current statute and HHS policies, and will provide guidance to NIDILRR grantees. The letter reflects DDRC's support and concerns with the proposed rule.  
 

Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act (S. 800)

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has been working on language for S. 800- Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health Act (NIH). The bill is supported by the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC), of which RESNA is a member, for its support in enhancing medical rehabilitation research at NIH and improving the provision of rehabilitation services and devices. The next step is for the Senate HELP committee and full Senate to pass S. 800 and send the bill to the House of Representatives to enact H.R. 1631, as revised by the Senate. Link to DRRC press release lauding the HELP Committee’s work on S. 800.        
 

National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology Webinar on Complex Rehab Technology 

In February, Don Clayback  with the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART) provided a webinar to discuss continued support in 2016 for Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT).  In particular, Don discussed legislation introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 3229) and the Senate (S. 2196) that protects access to Complex Rehab Wheelchair accessories by providing a technical correction to clarify that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cannot apply Medicare competitive bid pricing to wheelchair accessories. To learn more and find advocacy resources for the accessory legislation, visit www.protectmymobility.org. During the webinar, Don also stressed that advocates need to continue to get their Members of Congress on board to cosponsor CRT legislation. One way to do this is by attending the upcoming 2016 RESNA/NCART conference, which will combine the annual RESNA and CRT conferences, scheduled for July 10-14, 2016, Arlington, VA.  Attending the conference will also be an opportunity for conferees to schedule Hill visits to discuss CRT with Members of Congress. Copy of NCART’s webinar presentation