Group recharges batteries

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A who's who of complex rehab stakeholders showed up for a presentation by Ann Eubank at Medtrade in November. The subject: Raising about $200,000 for Users First Alliance (UFA), a newly minted 501c3 nonprofit that has worked, since 2007, to ensure appropriate access to seating and mobility equipment by empowering consumers, clinicians and providers. "There were more than 70 people in attendance," said Eubank, executive director of UFA. Here's what Eubank told HME News in December about UFA's evolution into a force to be reckoned with.

HME News: Why was becoming a 501c3 nonprofit so important?

Ann Eubank: To get it, you have to be consumer orientated and you can't have a board that's weighted corporately. It's a very pure, regulated nonprofit. Everything has to be transparent, so it means a lot.

HME: What was your sales pitch for raising money for UFA?

Eubank: I was there to raise money, but it was also a strategic planning meeting. It was about, "Come and hear what I have to say and ask me tough questions." Because if one large entity is frightened of empowering consumers, the movement won't happen.

HME: What kind of projects will UFA work on?

Eubank: Whenever a third-party payer does something discriminatory toward people with disabilities, Users First will step in. When suppliers do this, they can damage their relationships with payers. We're going to look at the ADA (to make sure it's followed). We're going to look at Medicare/Medicaid rules.

HME: How will you spend the $200,000?

Eubank: The budget goes toward marketing, project fees, the database, the website. I don't have aspirations for it to be a big organization with secretaries and computers. I want it to be run mostly by the people who are involved.