Pushin' On: UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Volume 33 | Number 2

Pushin’ON VOL 33 | NUM 2 2015 UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Headline News The University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System (UAB-SCIMS) provides Pushin’ On twice annually as an informational resource for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). UAB-SCIMS Program Director: Amie B McLain, MD Pushin’ On Editor: Phil Klebine, MA 529 Spain Rehabilitation Center 1717 6th Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35233-7330 Phone: 205-934-3283 TDD: 205-934-4642 Fax: 205-975-4691 WWW.UAB.EDU/SCI sciweb@uab.edu /UABSCIMS /UABSCIMS /UABSCIMS The contents of this publication were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number H133N110008). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. ©2015 University of Alabama Board of Trustees. The University of Alabama at Birmingham provides equal opportunity in education and employment. URGENT ACTION NEEDED! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the US federal agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. On January 1, 2016, CMS plans a policy change to cut reimbursement rates for Complex rehab technology (CRT) components. The component are medically necessary, individually-configured manual and power wheelchair systems, adaptive seating systems, alternative positioning systems, and other mobility devices that require evaluation, fitting, configuration, adjustment or programming. These CRT components are absolutely vital to the health and quality of life of children and adult wheelchair users with the most severe disabilities such as ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. If CMS cuts reimbursement rates for CRT components, most insurance providers will be moved to follow CMS policies. This means it will become very difficult or, in most cases, impossible for people with severe disabilities to get the vital CRT components they need! Consumers from across the US as well as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress have sent letters to CMS requesting that it rescind this planned policy change. However, CMS still plans on making the policy change despite all protests. To prevent the CMS policy change, the US House of Representatives and the US Senate have now proposed legislation to provide protection for CRT components and prevent CMS from making this policy change. Given the dire consequences if funding for CRT components is cut along with the urgent need to act before 2016, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System (UAB-SCIMS) is asking all readers to please take 5 minutes to click this link to send an email or call your legislators and ask them to co-sponsor the legislation to protect access to CRT components. Thank you. - Phil Klebine, Editor There is more progress to report on the breakthrough discovery that first enabled four men with paraplegia (two with complete injuries) to voluntarily move their legs after being implanted with an epidural stimulator. The epidural stimulator now enables the four men with paraplegia to stand from their wheelchairs on their own! “I can stand up for more than half an hour,” said Dustin Shillcox. “It’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s a hopeful feeling.” Watch the video and read the full CNN.com article here The men first gained national attention when they regained their ability to move after being implanted with an epidural stimulator (Watch this video to see how it works). Since then, they have regained dramatic improvements in their bladder and bowel control, sexual function, temperature regulation, and improved cardiovascular and respiratory capabilities. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation have launched The Big Idea website to follow ongoing developments.