Education remains group's core mission

Saturday, January 31, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla.--The Users First Alliance has ramped up its mission to empower end users by seeking nonprofit status.

Nonprofit status will further establish the alliance as a transparent consumer group, allowing it to be more effective in the fight to preserve funding and consumer choice, said Ann Eubank, executive director.

“When funding gets cut, there’s really no one marching on Washington, D.C., using wheels,” she said. 

“This is a great opportunity to give a voice to a community that’s otherwise very difficult to mobilize.”

Permobil, The Roho Group and TiLite formed Users First in 2007 with a mission to educate wheelchair users, clinicians and providers about the importance of providing and ensuring access to rehabilitation equipment that suits patient needs.

Additionally, Users First plans to educate end users, clinicians and providers to better navigate the healthcare system and access the equipment and services that meet patient needs. Eventually, for example, Users First will outline the “nuts and bolts” of how to challenge a denial.

“If we don’t fight and we don’t set precedent with insurance companies and with all third-party payers, things will never happen,” Eubank said. “One of our messages is: It’s worth the fight.”

As a nonprofit, Users First will also have the ability to write grants.

“It could be a very powerful educational tool in our industry all around,” she said.