Group 'gets a lot of attention'

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas - Going into its annual conference in August, the Greater Texas Rehab Providers Council (TXRPC) is enjoying a significant increase in interest from manufacturers and providers.

In late May, the council had already sold 23 exhibitor booths at the conference and it had only tabletops left.

"Usually, we have 15 booths, but we increased the space this year, and (manufacturers) were buying them two at a time," said Tom Hafford, secretary/treasurer of the council and president of Texas DME/Mobility Dynamics in Cleburne, Texas.

The conference takes place Aug. 4-6 at the Austin Marriott North.

Additionally, the council now boasts about 60 provider members and 190 individual members, 20% more than last year.

"We're, literally, receiving new membership applications daily," Hafford said. "These are providers that want to be active."

Why the increase in interest? A few reasons, council members say. One: The council's access to Medicaid officials.

"Because funding has become more complicated and we've developed good relationships with them, our members find that helpful," said Sandy Cormier, vice president and director of the council and an ATP for Rehab Specialties in San Antonio.

The council will continue those relationships at this year's conference. It has dedicated time for Medicaid's policy, rate-making and prior authorization staff, who are fielding questions at the conference, to walk the exhibit floor and view products.

Another reason for the increase in interest: A bill that the council was instrumental in passing last year that requires rehab providers to be RESNA-certified ATPs to provide custom seating and mobility. It also requires Medicaid officials to develop "an appropriate reimbursement methodology" for the services provided by those ATPs.

"Being involved with that got us a lot of attention," Hafford said.