Coming into their own

Friday, January 31, 2003

NRRTS and its members mark 10-year anniversary

LARGO VISTA, Texas - The National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (NRRTS) marks its 10-year anniversary this year, and the organization and its members are finally “coming into their own,” says President Dave Kruse. “After years and years, we’re starting to get recognized as professionals,” he said. Much of that has to do with a decision by the Georgia Medicaid program to require that providers fitting custom wheelchairs and seating systems become members of NRRTS. After that one-of-a-kind requirement went into effect about a year ago, all eyes turned to the state - and NRRTS.

HME NEWS: How much has NRRTS’s membership grown?

Dave Kruse: Our membership currently stands at 746. We had 115 new members in 2002. Of those new members, 32 were from Georgia. There’s no doubt that their requirement impacted our growth. Prior to that, we had been hovering at about 500 to 600 members.

HME: Do you think more states will follow in Georgia’s footsteps?

Kruse: I think it’s going to be a trend. We’re looking to make the review committee bigger, because even before Georgia the committee was busy keeping up with membership. Right now, we only have one review chair for each of the four DMERC regions. We’ve also created an amnesty program where we’re allowing members who were once part of the organization to come back, so we can increase membership. That way, as more states do what Georgia did, we’ll have adequate coverage or representation in each state.

HME: Is NRRTS pushing for more states to do what Georgia did?

Kruse: We don’t have a lobbying group pushing states to do what Georgia did or anything. We support what they did, and we want other states to follow their lead, but we feel that any pressure should come from provider organizations. If they come to us for support, or for how a bill or requirement should be written, we’ll do that.

HME: Are there other states looking to do what Georgia did?

Kruse: In Tennessee, there’s been a bill drafted that requires providers belong to NRRTS or pass RESNA’s ATS exam. We suggested they include RESNA as well, because we want providers to have an alternative. We’ve had companies come to us that can’t meet NRRTS requirements and ask us if we can waive them, so we want them to have other ways of meeting a requirement like Georgia’s.

HME: Do providers have misconceptions about the requirements of a NRRTS membership?

Kruse: A lot of the people coming to our booth at Medtrade this year were less experienced, and naïve about the organization and the requirements to be a member. They’re saying “I’ll join NRRTS, then I won’t have to take the ATS exam.” Sure, they can do that, but they have to make sure they get their 15 hours of continuing education credits and three referall letters before they can join. HME