National Seating & Mobility makes a job out of giving back

Sunday, September 26, 2010

At National Seating & Mobility's newest branch in Las Vegas, Tammy Wilber's primary job responsibility is building relationships with the disability community. Wilber, who uses a wheelchair, says it's her dream job. "I've worked for nonprofits and volunteered in the community before, but to be able to give back as part of my job is amazing," she said. Here's what Wilber, who was paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in 1993, said about feeling at home living in Las Vegas and working in the rehab industry.

HME News: Before moving to Las Vegas, you were in Washington state, working as a sales rep for an HME provider and before that, scheduling wheelchair evaluations in the outpatient department at the University of Washington Medical Center. Why the change?

Tammy Wilber: I loved my life there, but I'm a warm-weather girl. So I got to thinking, "Hmmm, who lives in warm places that I know?" I contacted Trent (McAllson, who manages the branch in Las Vegas), who I met through the medical center. The next thing you know, it was, "How fast can you move?" And the next thing you know I'm on an airplane to find a place to live and then I'm moving down here.

hme: How did you and Trent come up with this position?

Wilber: He had it in his mind that he wanted to give back to the community. He wanted someone who was outgoing and involved in the disability community and that's how it started.

hme: How has it been so far?

Wilber: I'm wearing multiple hats right now. Since the branch just opened, I'm also a processor, which means I do benefit checks and letters of medical necessity, and get doctors' signatures. But I've already done some outreach--going around and seeing how I can work with the disability communities in Las Vegas. I'll be volunteering for the MDA's "Stride and Ride" event, which we're participating in.

hme: What are the benefits of having a community liaison on staff?

Wilber: Referrals are nice, so part of it is about getting the company's name out there. But it's more about, yes, we are a company, but we want to support your cause and that's why I'm donating my time.

hme: As someone who uses a wheelchair, do you bring something unique to the position?

Wilber: I know the importance of being your own advocate. You can't just leave it up to the provider. So I try to get clients more educated on how to be proactive in their health care.