Mobility group tackles industry issues

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Members of RESNA's wheeled seating and mobility task group, known as SIG09 (special interest group 09), discussed plans to increase its stature in the industry at the organization's annual conference June 15-19 in Phoenix.
"We used to be big and powerful, then we split into different directions," said Chairman Mark Schmeler, referring to the various groups that now represent the interests of the rehab industry, including NCART, NRRTS and AAHomecare's RATC. "We need a unified voice."
The task group discussed these issues at the conference:
Are there enough ATPs?
Beginning April 1, 2008, Medicare will require that ATPs perform evaluations for certain power wheelchairs. The problem: The industry doesn't think there are enough ATPs with experience in wheeled seating and mobility (versus, say, augmentative communication) to conduct the evaluations. The task group plans to come up with a strategy for implementing the requirement.
"We don't necessarily want to get rid of it, but what if CMS were to roll it out gradually like competitive bidding?" Schmeler asked. "That would make sense."
Specialty credential inches forward
RESNA's board of directors approved a concept for a specialty certification for seating and mobility. The certification, which would build on the "generalist" ATP certification, now sits with the professional standards board. Proposed requirements for meeting the specialty certification include documenting a certain number of hours of service, earning a certain number of continuing education credits, and submitting letters of recommendation and case studies, Schmeler said.
Therapists get their dues
The American Medical Association recently made adjustments to coding and reimbursement, opening the door for ATPs who are physical or occupational therapists to get reimbursed for seating and mobility services. The task group discussed how providers and therapists should take advantage of the changes.
"Providers need to notify therapists of these changes, and they need to continue to encourage them to get involved in seating and mobility," Schmeler said.