Pushin' On: UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Volume 33 | Number 2
VOL 33 | NUM 2
UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System Digital Newsletter
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
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
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation have launched The Big
Idea website to follow ongoing developments.