ATP exams restart

‘This has put a bump in the road, but the net of all of it is, we’ll still be in a better position today than we were’
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Friday, May 15, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine – Prometric reopened its test centers on May 1, allowing complex rehab professionals to once again sit for RESNA’s ATP exams after an almost two-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The good news is, the ATP falls into that category of essential workers and (passing the exam) is a requirement for Medicare and others,” said Julie Piriano, vice president of clinical education and rehab industry affairs and compliance officer for Pride Mobility Products, and chairwoman of RESNA’s Professional Standards Board. “This is a very good step in the value of the certification in the continuum of health care.”

Prometric is taking a number of measures to address safety, including cleaning high-touch areas twice a day, and requiring test takers to wear masks and allowing them to wear gloves.

RESNA and Prometric have reached out to professionals who were scheduled to take the exam between when the centers closed mid-March and opened back up May 1 to reschedule and waive any related fees, Piriano says.

“They’re looking for days and times to slot people in on a go-forward basis,” she said.

The pandemic hit as RESNA was coming off a strong 2019, when it saw more people sit for and pass the ATP exam than in previous years, and an impressive start to 2020, Piriano says.

“This has put a bump in the road, but the net of all of it is, we’ll still be in a better position today than we were,” she said.

That’s all good news with a large number of ATPs near or at retirement age, according to a 2018 survey, and with the pandemic possibly speeding up that trend.

“Companies are giving people choices for staff reductions and a lot of ATPs could not come back (after the pandemic),” said Gerry Dickerson, an ATP and CRTS for National Seating & Mobility, and president of NRRTS. “We’re going to have a need, especially the minute the doors open a little.”

RESNA is benefitting from complex rehab companies doing more to foster the next generation of ATPs, Piriano says.

“A number of the larger CRT companies have programs to groom and educate their in-house workforce to move into this as a new role as they become more educated,” she said. “That’s very different pathway into becoming an ATP than we’ve had in the past.”