Friday, April 30, 2004

WASHINGTON - Following the recent exodus of many prominent members and leaders, AAHomecare’s Rehab and Assistive Technology Council has become a “clean slate” with old and new members working to set a new course and reinvigorate the group.
RATC met in March at the Medtrade Spring show in Las Vegas to discuss goals as it moves forward after February’s fall out. One such aim is to bring the group in line with the operating standards of the association’s other advisory groups.

“It is necessary that there be a group concentrated on the rehab area, but we don’t feel it should operate under a different set of rules,”said Joel Mills, AAHomecare’s chairman, at the March meeting. “Our goal really is to now have RATC operate more like our other advisory groups in regards to working within and under the AAHomecare bylaws and code of ethics.”

The new format does away with RATC’s former five member executive committee. Instead, a chair and vice chair of RATC - to be chosen at the association’s June legislative conference - will sit on the board of AAHomecare.

The departure of many key members and their formation of the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology sparked some question about the committee’s continued viability. Although membership is down slightly since February, the discord also has generated new interest in the group.

Larry Rice, owner of The Wheelchair Shop in Houston, Texas, said his decision now to join RATC and AAHomecare hinges on his desire to see the rehab community’s voice strengthened in industry and legislative discussions.

“I want to go where there is structure, and I think [RATC and AAHomecare] have the contacts necessary to push our cause along,” he said.