Bring complex rehab back to Medtrade

We are simply too busy trying to count trees that we cannot see the growing forest
Monday, August 28, 2017

With the onset of competitive bidding, the shifts in previously purchased products to now rentals and reimbursement cuts, the availability in education and attendance of manufacturers at Medtrade has significantly declined over the recent years.

However, the needs of our aging and physically disabled population in communities nationwide has significantly increased.

Consequently, the problem of having non-experienced and trained therapists to meet the demands of our communities continues to be a struggle for DME providers.

As Medtrade has dwindled in the area of complex rehab, I have struggled with finding ways to teach occupational and physical therapists in my practice, as well as our new non-experienced therapists, the wide array of complex rehab products available to end-users.  For example, I hired an experienced occupational therapist who moved from Canada to the United States.  She attended Medtrade last year based on my recommendation for the opportunity to see multiple products at the expo.  Both of us were extremely disappointed. 

I have hired seven new therapists in the two last months throughout the state of Florida, most of whom are new to this industry and have the heart to learn this area of practice. Currently, I am challenged to make yet another recommendation to attend this conference due to the low exposure of complex rehab products and education for my therapists at the 2017 Medtrade in Atlanta.

To add to the complexities of my advocacy and my practice, we have decided to expand our practice to Georgia. However, both manufacturer reps and DME provider ATPs are now so busy trying to meet corporate quotas and their expected annual sales, the time needed to assist in fostering education in the field is little to none in Florida. Trying to expand into another state and teaching another 10 to 20 therapists throughout Georgia will only add to my frustration with the limited education and opportunity to learn products at expos and conferences.

Lastly, the industry has shifted to providing most of its education and attendance through the International Seating Symposium (ISS) and RESNA conferences.  While these conferences are extremely valuable to our industry, especially for experienced seating and wheeled mobility clinicians, the fees to attend rise every year and are too expensive for a novice therapist to attend. 

Four years ago, I had the vision to expand my practice, fka Seating Solutions, statewide. Now, CHAS Goup HC Corp is busier than ever in the Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale/Miami areas. The aging-in-place population is growing, and seniors and people with physical disabilities are living longer. To foster the national growth of the number of clinicians who are willing to learn and want to enter into world of complex rehab, they need more opportunities to learn.

We are simply too busy trying to count trees that we cannot see the growing forest.

 I would like to see more seating and wheeled mobility education and manufacturers present at Medtrade in 2018.  Bring complex back to Medtrade: We need it now more than ever!

Cindi Petito, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS, CHAS Group HC Corp