If you asked the average person to explain what a wheelchair is, he or she would probably describe something that you'd either find at a hospital or for sale at a drugstore. These wheelchairs are good solutions for people recovering from surgery or injury. However, they are impractical for people who have significant disabilities or medical conditions. It's impossible to meet the medical needs of these people without highly specialized mobility devices known as Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT). CRT is made to meet the specific medical needs of a single person. People who use CRT, myself included, rely on their wheelchairs to survive and to live meaningful lives.

Our access to this life-altering technology is currently in danger. #Unite4CRT is a virtual town hall meeting, taking place on Tuesday, August 13th at 7:00 p.m. EST. Organized by the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS), our goal is to educate the general public about the importance of Complex Rehabilitation Technology. We will use that time as an opportunity to share our stories as CRT users, and to describe the critical role that CRT plays in our lives.

Speaking to U.S. Representative about CRT

People who use CRT spend the majority of each day in their wheelchairs, so these devices must include technology to keep them safe and healthy. Many CRT users are unable to shift their weight, which is not only very important for maintaining healthy blood circulation, but also for preventing pressure sores from forming. Seating systems are built into their wheelchairs, which recline the seat of their wheelchairs at different intervals to relieve pressure from sensitive areas.

Though many CRT users qualify for government assistance, it can still be extremely difficult for many to secure funding for this vital equipment. Currently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are looking to cut funding to "CRT accessories" for CRT manual wheelchairs. Though referred to as "accessories," these pieces and parts should be referred to as "critical components." Such critical components are instrumental to maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle, and include: pressure relieving seat cushions, back supports, lateral supports, specialized switches, and driving controls. We will close the discussion by addressing a few bills that we are advocating for, how they will help us preserve the rights of CRT users, and how you can get involved in this initiative.

Meeting with Congressman Bilirakis

We understand that the average person neither works in our industry, nor knows a person with a significant, life-altering disability. A significant problem that we are currently facing is that our community of CRT users is small. Though CRT is vital to each of our lives, the size of our population could prevent us from having as much of an impact as we need. The reality is, in order to change CMS's policies that intend to cut our funding to CRT, we need the support of every U.S. citizen, Congresswoman, Congressman, and Senator.

For more information and to register for the #Unite4CRT Virtual Town Hall Meeting, please click here.

About the Author


Around the age of one, I contracted bacterial meningitis. When I was three, I began using a power wheelchair. I've always embraced my disability and taken pride in knowing that I was different than my peers. My desire to learn more about disability led me to study critical disability theory both as an undergrad and a graduate student. I've always been passionate about gaming, which influenced me to write my Master's thesis on accessibility and video games as it relates to gamers with disabilities. In my spare time I love competing in local tournaments for Super Smash Bros., reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, and writing.

Most of the stories here on LiveQuickie.com were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.

Date: 8/13/2019 12:00:00 AM

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