Group works to advance CRT

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BETHESDA, Md. - Stakeholders will soon have two more official documents to support the importance of complex rehab technology (CRT) and, hopefully, to lend weight to a separate benefit bill.

Occupational therapists Tamara Kittelson-Aldred and Cindi Petito are taking the lead on developing the documents for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). One of the documents, a policy fact sheet that will comprise a brief outline of complex rehab technology and funding, as well as related occupational therapy services, could be ready as early as November.

"It will be used to educate legislators about complex rehab technology and its importance to secure better funding," said Kittelson-Aldred, owner of Missoula, Mt.-based Access Therapy Services. "It also could be used to educate OTs and to educate families and patients."

The other document is a "knowledge and skills document" focused solely on complex seating and wheeled mobility.

The documents are the latest step in a yearlong effort by the Clinician Task Force to garner more support for CRT from professional associations like AOTA, Kittelson-Aldred said. Having the weight and influence of AOTA behind CRT would be a boost to stakeholder efforts for a separate benefit, she said.

AOTA has published several "knowledge and skills documents" for different areas of the OT profession that require specialized knowledge and expertise. CRT, however, is currently part of an existing document. Creating a separate document for CRT further establishes it as its own specialty. 

"It recognizes that a special level of skill and expertise is required to do this work," Kittelson-Aldred said.

The AOTA in April passed two motions that call for the development of the documents.