Behind the scenes: CMS tours Fuller Rehab

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

RINGGOLD, Ga. - Fuller Rehabilitation Independent Living Aids scored a coup in October when two high-ranking CMS officials dropped by the provider's headquarters for a closer look at its operations. "I said (to staff), ' Let's open it up,'" said Carter Fuller, president. "'Let's let them be a part of what we do.' I want them to know what we do because that will strengthen our argument moving forward." Fuller, which has branch locations in six states, has invited CMS to visit before, but this was the first time officials took them up on the offer, Fuller said. His goal was to limit the time CMS Deputy Administrator Herb Kuhn and Director of CMS Chronic Care Policy Group Laurence Wilson spent in a conference room and instead let them visit with staff and see each step of the process up close, from intake to delivery. Additionally, Kuhn and Wilson attended an in-service, led by Fuller's mobility specialists, at a local hospital. "They asked questions and they talked to our medical review folks," said Fuller. "I think they really appreciated the openness." Kuhn and Wilson also visited patients' homes. They accompanied Fuller staff as they delivered a complex rehab chair and a standard power chair to two patients. "To be able to go in a patient's home and see when they get a piece of equipment fitted to them and all the different things that go into that--I think it was an eye-opener for them," Fuller said. The more providers reach out to CMS and legislators and show them firsthand the services they offer every day, the easier it is for all parties to work together, said Seth Johnson, who attended part of the visit. "From talking to both Herb and Laurence at the end of the day, they found it very educational and they indicated they really did have a much better understanding of the processes and procedures providers follow," said Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products.