New blood takes over RATC

Sunday, July 31, 2005

WASHINGTON -- On the eve of massive changes for the rehab technology business, AAHomecare's two newly appointed RATC chairs say one of their goals is to mend the fences between the rehab industry's various associations.
Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products, and Tim Pederson, owner of WestMed Rehab in Rapid City, S.D., in July lead their first RATC meeting, kicking off what will likely be a busy tenure at the helm.
"We have an aggressive agenda, but it's doable," said Pederson. "It's a daunting task because we are essentially trying to remake the whole council, so we are doing a lot of listening and some brainstorming and I think you'll see a lot of positive changes."
In February 2004, RATC took a beating when many of its executive council members and its executive director jumped ship to start the National Coalition for Rehab and Assistive Technology (NCART).
Johnson and Pederson, who belong to NCART as well, hope to rekindle a relationship between the two groups and other consumer organizations.
"It's not an either or proposition," said Pederson. "I think we'll be speaking more on the same page in the months to come. We both have the same goals. RATC plans to tackle many of the issues facing rehab and serve as a strong voice for rehab providers on a national level."
The Muse and Associates analysis of gap filling and its alternatives will be a major focus of the council, Johnson said. So will the power wheelchair codes and fee schedule and national competitive bidding.
"I am confident that RATC will work to make sure that there is a clear message from AAH that there are significant problems with trying to include rehab and assistive technology products and services in competitive bidding and that they should be exempt," he said. "That's right in line with what the other rehab entities are saying as well."
Johnson replaced Matthew Burke, as RATC chair. Pederson inherited the vice chair position from Larry Rice.