HME News TV: What are the keys to complex rehab's future?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The complex rehab market has come a long way, but it still has a way to go, says Mark Schmeler in a new HME News TV interview.

"The HME industry, in general, has been kicked pretty hard and it's a matter of going back and regrouping and figuring out how we move forward," said Schmeler, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation.

When it comes to regrouping, the complex rehab market has a good start. When competitive bidding kicked off this year, Group 3 complex power wheelchairs weren't included in any of the nine product categories.

But the complex rehab market still has three big clouds hanging over it, according to Schmeler. The first: It has no uniform method for measuring the benefits of complex power wheelchairs.

"If we can agree on a standard system of measuring the impact of what we do, we can get larger sample sizes, we can work with more academics to analyze this data and we can take a look at who's using this equipment, what impact it has and what's the return on investment," he said.

The second: The lack of a defined academic track for complex rehab professionals.

"We're an area of study that doesn't really have a curriculum, compared to PT and OT, where you know anyone graduating from those programs has a core set of knowledge," Schmeler said. "We're starting to standardize."

The third: The complex rehab market needs some young blood.

"We have to encourage young people to get into this field," Schmeler said. "I remember when I was the youngest guy (at Medtrade) and now I'm still the youngest guy here 15 to 20 years later."

View the interview.